This was the tenth Sunday after Pentecost, and our songs were gathered with the intent of re-tuning ourselves to enter into the work of God. Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics. Below the songs, you can find recordings from Sunday morning of a few of them, and below the recordings, 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.
Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle
Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher
Hope by Jameson McGregor
There's A Wideness in God's Mercy by Jameson McGregor (adapted from F. Faber)
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.
How Great Thou Art: We sang this song to begin our time together with a confession of God's greatness. After another in a series of weeks marked by pain and uncertainty, it is easy to lose sight of all the glory in the world. In voicing these words, we began to tune ourselves to regain whatever has been lost through navigating the complexity of the world this summer.
Fall Afresh: We sang this song to confess our need for the Spirit to transform us into people who are working together with God in God's reconciliation project. We are prone to growing so familiar with our own ideas of who God is and what God is like that we functionally fall asleep to the movement of God. Thus, we continually need a wake-up call from the Spirit, breathing new life into our dry bones.
Lord, I Need You: We have had many reminders over the past few weeks that we are a part of several systems of violence. Our complicity in these systems is at odds with our being formed in the way of Christ, and is thus sin. This song speaks to personal struggles against sin, and allows us to rehearse turning to God for help rather than only attempting to self-regulate ourselves out of destructive behavior.
Hope: For the past several weeks, the offering song has been used to give voice to lament. This week, it seemed fitting to give voice to hope. Lament and hope are directly connected to one another, and may well be considered two sides of the same coin. Lament is but noise without the hope of change, and hope is only a facade if it is not born from lamentable circumstances. This song picks up on the image in John 1 of God setting a light in the darkness that the darkness did not overcome. We might see this as a statement about the Incarnation in general, the Crucifixion in particular, or maybe the Story of God and creation as a whole. This image gives us hope because it acknowledges darkness and almost axiomatically establishes that the darkness will not overcome the light.
There's A Wideness in God's Mercy: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs. This is what was said of There's a Wideness in God's Mercy then: We sang this song to meditate on God's mercy. For the past several weeks, we have been bombarded with news of various horrific kinds of violence. Humans are particularly skilled at finding ways to reject the divine image in one another. With what I know of God from Scripture, my assumption is that God is deeply grieved by our violence, and if we had one of the prophets writing today, God would most certainly talk at length about how God wanted to be rid of us. And rightfully so. But God's not going to rid Godself of us. Because that's not who God is. The Noah story shows us this quite clearly. God wanted to start over, and started that process, then realized how terrible that was--how deeply painful that was--and resolved never to do that again. Instead, God decided to fix things from the inside, entering into the story to suffer our violence and conquer it with love. That conquering is accomplished, but still unfolding. It's horribly slow for my taste, but it's there nonetheless.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.