This week was the first Sunday after Epiphany. Epiphany is an interesting season. It begins with the Epiphany (the Star, wise men, etc.), which begins a journey through moments in Jesus' life that serve to reveal Jesus' divinity and mission (baptism, miracles, Transfiguration). These moments are "epiphanies" in their own right, but the church calendar postures them as looking over their shoulder at Epiphany (that's why its the first Sunday after Epiphany, rather than the first Sunday of Epiphany/the epiphanies). Anyway. Our songs were gathered around the theme of what the Incarnation reveals to us about who God is. 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.
Heart Won't Stop by John Mark McMillan
Amazing Grace by Citizens & Saints
Because He Lives by Bill Gaither
Wild One by Jameson McGregor
Holy, Holy, Holy
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.
Heart Won't Stop: The language of this song is taken from Psalm 139, and it proclaims the fact that we cannot outrun the love of God, and there is no hole that we can dig ourselves that is deep enough to convince God to finally leave us alone. In the Word becoming flesh in Jesus, God sends a clear message about just how far God is willing to go to set things right with Creation. And while this self-humbling of God is profound on its own, we know that this is not the part of the Christian story where we see God go the furthest for us. We sang this song because it reminds us that God-with-us is a label that God took upon Godself on purpose, and God did not ask humanity what we thought first--we are loved, whether we think it is appropriate or not.
Amazing Grace: We sang this song to look at the significance of the Word becoming flesh from a different angle, where we think of the fact that God's choosing to be God-with-us has fundamentally changed the way that we exist in the world. God-with-us means that we are not left to our own devices, but rather have a Fellow Traveler in the world Who knows our struggles and feels our pain, yet does not mirror our faults. When this understanding meets the love of God, we find something we might call grace.
Because He Lives: I normally think of the Resurrection when I hear this song, but I think it carries, at the very least, a double entendre. We sang this song because the fact that the Word became flesh--the fact that God chose to be God-with-us--means that we can have a new kind of Hope. The darkness of Advent has been pierced by a Fire in its midst, and the darkness cannot overcome it. If nothing else, at this early part of the Christian story, we know that the Story is far from over, and this is the hope we carry with us, facing each new day with expectation.
Wild One: We sang this song because the Word becoming flesh reveals to us that God is not pinned down by who we expect God to be. The people of God were not expecting a Messiah like Jesus. Our most pristine theological categories struggle to make sense of why God would enter our mess of a world in vulnerability rather than destroying it and starting over. The aim of this song is to refocus our minds on the fact that it is God--God-with-us-- who is worthy of our worship, not our most comfortable picture of God. That is to say, we must constantly be looking for a God who is on the move, who is dynamic, rather than assuming that we figured God out long ago. The God revealed in Jesus is a God who is full of surprises and is not easily categorized or mapped out.
Holy, Holy, Holy: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs. This is what we said about Holy, Holy, Holy then: We sang this song to specifically locate our worship of Jesus within the scope of the Triune God.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.