This week, our songs were gathered around the theme of transformation. Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics. Below the songs, there is an example of one way you might think of these songs in light of this week's theme. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazing Grace by Citizens & Saints
Pain by Jameson McGregor
Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle
How They Fit In:
There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme.
Amazing Grace: Perhaps the most surface-level take away from this song is that the Grace of God has saved us, and I think that is legitimate, but we sang Amazing Grace this week to think about the fact that this gift of Grace does not merely change our status of salvation, but knocks around in our lives and transforms us into people who are more like Jesus.
How Great Thou Art: We sang this song to practice recognizing the works of God in history, and responding with praise. This response is something we partner with the Holy Spirit to cultivate within ourselves--a transformation that we would do well to leave ourselves open to. We can easily get to a place where we accept the wonders of God as simply the way things are, but this song calls us to maintain a sense of awe--to allow ourselves to be transformed into a people who carry a sensitivity to such wonders. This might look like being the kind of people who are excited--and driven to worship--when the scientific community discovers another layer of complexity in the cosmos, knowing that science more often than not opens up doors to seeing just how much we don't know about the way things work. It might also look like being the kind of people who, upon seeing someone do something we would consider awful, turn our minds to the dark places in ourselves and think about what God has done for us, and how much more God can do within us.
Be Thou My Vision: We sang this song as a communal prayer that God would transform the way we see the world, and the way we live in it. [I changed a line of this song over the summer--if you missed the explanation for that change, you can check out the setlist from that week here.]
Pain: This song is about the danger of keeping our pain locked up in ourselves. I have two broad categories of pain in mind here. On the one hand, this pain might be considered externally caused--the emotional effects of something that has happened. On the other hand, the pain I'm talking about is self-inflicted--it's the guilt, the fear of being found out, that accompanies our own downfalls. I can't speak for you, but I know that my tendency is to try and ignore things that hurt me (in an emotional sense), regardless of how serious they are, thinking I can move on unscathed this way. The problem is, I've found that pain has a way of poisoning me to a certain extent--be it through leaving me with a dull anger that affects my general mood, or through sizzling like white noise, clouding my thoughts and social interactions. My inclination is to carry my own weight, so to speak, but I'm ill-equipped for such a task. Jesus talks about setting aside our heavy "yokes" and taking up His easy "yoke." I'm pretty sure he's talking about setting aside a meticulous code of religious laws, and taking up the law of love, but I don't think it is inappropriate to apply the same image to our own anxieties and sources of pain. I've been thinking about anxiety and emotional suffering a lot lately, and I've been asking a lot of questions. One of these is why the pain of [insert source of emotional suffering] fades over time. Why do things that wreck us emotionally have the potential to get better over time? One answer might be this: the context changes: the world didn't end, life moved on, or something good came out of a bad situation. I think this sort of change of context is what we are offered by God. While God doesn't necessarily take our pain away, the Gospel extends to us the hope of a context-change that just might take some of the weight away in the present. In God, we find the potential for the way we think about pain to be transformed. This is a new one, so be sure to check out the lyrics and email me with any questions.
Fall Afresh: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs. Here's what we said about Fall Afresh then: We sang this song to voice our dependence on the Spirit for living life to the fullest and for taking our journey of faith seriously.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.