This week was the fourth Sunday of Epiphany, and Josh's sermon text was the Beatitudes. Our songs were gathered at the intersection of these two themes. 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.
There's A Wideness In God's Mercy by Jameson McGregor (adapted from F. Faber)
All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons & Daughters
Future/Past by John Mark McMillan
Burn It Down by Jameson McGregor
Mystery by Jameson McGregor (adapted from Charlie Hall)
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.
There's A Wideness In God's Mercy: Through the Beatitudes, the fourth week of Epiphany allows us to consider the upside-down logic of the Kingdom that Jesus came proclaiming. Those who are truly blessed do not necessarily look like it when viewed through the lens of prosperity that our culture has offered us. This song carries a similar theme in that it proclaims God's love to be broader than our minds can handle, and God's strictness to be much more malleable than we expect.
All the Poor and Powerless: We sang this song to celebrate God's presence among the poor, the powerless, the criminal, the stranger, and all of those who feel hopeless or abandoned. This song serves as a reminder to us of where God stands in conflicts between the powerful and the oppressed, which also serves as a reminder of where we are to stand if we are to be where God is.
Future/Past: This song charts the distance between who God is and who we are, yet notes that God has transgressed this division, drawn near to us, and called us friends. We offer God nothing that God doesn't already have--God has nothing to gain from drawing near to us--yet it is fundamental to who God is to welcome us strangers into God's presence. In our weakness, God calls us blessed. And we would do well to remember that God calls all sorts of the cast-out, rejected, and afflicted blessed as well. With that in mind, if we are to claim to be the people of God, we are bound to offer the divine welcome to all of those people as well.
Burn It Down: This song was originally written for Pentecost 2016. It is a petition for the Holy Spirit to set a fire on our tongues to speak the truth to power for the purpose of standing alongside the parts of God's creation (creatures and otherwise) that are trampled or taken advantage of.
Mystery: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs. This is what we said about Mystery then: In coming to know the Person of Jesus, we encounter a multi-faceted Mystery. This Person who is infinite, yet finite; divine, yet human; weak, yet strong; defeated, yet victorious; comes to us and calls into question all we think we know to be true about the world. Jesus' identity as Mystery is one of the primary reasons we so desperately need Epiphany to renew our holy curiosity every year--sometimes we forget that we don't have Jesus figured out. This song takes the Mystery of Jesus and champions it using the "formula" of Christ has died//Christ is Risen//Christ will come again, as the chorus. The verses are about the way that Jesus' mystery status meets us in our own lives from without. Here Jesus is the answer to our problems: the sanity and clarity that enters our dissonance, and the evergreen living peace that enters our conflict. But Jesus is also the question to our assumptions about the world: the Eternal Word who is brought low, the cup of salvation that is poured out, the Embodied Love that is broken, and the Trampled Redeemer that is raised and freed. Taken together the verses and chorus of this song champion Jesus as our source of hope when things seem irredeemable--because we learn that Jesus is not limited by what we expect of the way the world works. So in the bridge section, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus as a symbol of holy subversion to the power structures of the world, and take up singing about this subversion as our own way to subvert oppressive systems of power.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.