This morning, the song & hymn line-up at church* was chock full of songs I love. Because several of them aren’t commonly known, I thought I’d share three with you guys today.
The basic theme of all of the song we sang this morning is one I love and struggle with and am learning all over again: we are each of us too big a train wreck for us to fix, but God is in the business of turning train wrecks into trophies of grace. These are wonderful songs for people who have come to the end of themselves.
And of course, I’ve included commentary, because, hey, this is me we’re talking about.
Come to Jesus by Mindy Smith – I’ve been putting this on mixes for more than 10 years, because sometimes your soul needs a desperate lullaby to remind you to rest like a baby in the arms of Jesus.
Can’t Help Myself by Sandra McCracken – This song is from a few years ago – before the Psalms album came out (which, y’all, is so good you should go buy it right now) – but is a really cool precursor to that album, because it follows the pattern of so many Davidic psalms, where David voices his thoughts and feelings about life being hard and then responds to his own self by reminding himself of Who God is and what God says about him. My favorite part (besides the “I can’t help myself” stuff, which I think is really helpful to repeat over and over, especially if you happen to be a perfectionist like myself) is the last verse: “I trust the Lord, my soul and all that is in me; I trust the Light to show my darkest parts. I pray the Spirit will be strong and mighty – a fool would keep his secrets in his heart.” I mean, isn’t that so deadly to our inclination to hide what is sinful and broken in ourselves from God?
For All the Saints, Indelible Grace style – I absolutely love this song. We started singing it in RUF in college, and it’s one of those rich hymns that takes you all the way to glory. I really love the last verse, but there are LOTS of verses, so I don’t blame our Worship Arts dude for ending at verse 5 or 6 or whatever it is (well, I try not to), and he does it so well – with a huge drum buildup at the end of the previous verse that ushers in the breathtakingly beautiful scene the hymn-writer (William How) describes for us of Jesus coming back to earth and the saints rising, victorious in His righteousness, from the dead. It’s fantastic.
The hardest thing to believe – and the most important – when you’re just having a really hard time in the grittiness of life is that Jesus really does make all things new. I kind of want to spend this year living like a person who knows 1. she will be resurrected 2. to live forever 3. in her (glorified) body 4. enjoying and glorifying God forever 5. with the rest of God’s people and all His creation. I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions or choosing a word for the year or anything like that, but I think this is something I’m gonna see if I can focus on this year. It seems like the kind of thing I should know down to my bones, you know?
* So I just want you to marvel with me for a moment that somehow our brand new church plant, which today held it’s 20th ever service, wound up landing the url citychurch.org. I still can’t believe it. To quote the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series,”I am all astonishment.”