I dig lyrics. Instrumental music has it’s time and place for my relaxation, but I like me some songs with words. They stick with me.
I have no gift for song-writing; believe me I’ve tried and it was not pretty. They were all mostly of the “roses are red, violets are blue” category. Speaking of, I can’t write poetry for crap, either. And I don’t know if you are like this, but when someone shows an amazing, I mean a GOD-ordained talent or giftedness in an area where I am talentless, it leaves me in awe. (Don’t even get me started on the dancers on SYTYCD.) And then when they USE that gift to point to the Creator? It gives me chills down to my toes. I feel that way about certain songs and their composers.
Sometimes I find a line or two in a song and pull it out of the rest, carry it with me and put it on repeat, over and over. There’s a song we sing at church called “What Joy is Found” by Vineyard/Jeremy Riddle (but, FYI, I like the way we do it at church better than the recording.) Some of the lyrics are simple, but divine. This juicy nugget was something I meditated on for a good week:
What joy is found in communion with you/
In living a life that pleases your heart/
Responding in reverence to all that You are
Do I really believe that? That there is deep and abiding JOY in just living a life that pleases God’s heart? In being in communion with him, recognizing who HE is and repsonding to it? Even if I get nothing accomplished in the eyes of the world–or my eyes, for that matter. Oh, gosh, I hope so.
Then sometimes, I notice that lyrics from different songs written in different centuries complement each other beautifully, or express a similar concept in different ways. For instance, in the third verse in the hymn “When I Survery the Woundrous Cross,” Isaac Watts wrote these words:
All the vain things that charm me most/
I sacrifice them to his blood
That verse is so convicting to me! Oh, Jesus, help me see past all the vain things that charm me most and focus on what is eternally important to You. Then I noticed there is a similar sentiment in the more recent chorus “Lead Me To The Cross,” written by the amazingly talented Brooke Frasier:
Everything I once held dear/
I count it all as loss
See what I’m saying?! And, to top it all off, I feel like these “discoveries” of mine are not just me having my observant hat on. I think the Holy Spirit brings these to my attention when I’m willing to have open eyes and ears. Maybe when I need to learn something? Ouch. Vain, charming things that I hold dear? I’m embarassed to say how many things are on that list.
On Christmas Eve, I got to sing a fun duet arrangement of a little known holiday jig called “Joy to the World.” LITERALLY I’ve sung it hundreds of times in my life. Same words, same melody. But I got thinking about the refrain:
And wonders of His love, wonders of His love/
wo-ONders, wonders of….His….love.
What is it about His love that is so wondrous? Do I recognize it? Does it feel wondrous to me? How can I describe it? Then I heard this song, that you may not have heard, so I’m going to link you up with the vid down below, because it is too good to miss. And in the same days that I was pondering the wonders of God’s love, I heard these lyrics mixed with a moving melody (not realizing they were by Sidewalk Prophets, quickly becoming one of my fave bands):
I am the thorn in Your crown/ but You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow/ but you love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist/ but You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss/ but You love me anyway
See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes, then I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
BUT YOU LOVED ME ANYWAY
Oh, God…how you love me
THAT is it. Those words painfully capture the beauty and the WONDERS OF HIS LOVE. That I am a sinner, failing Him day after day, making the same mistakes, feigning passion when I am often so wretchedly mediocre. We ALL sin and fall short of His glory. We let Him down constantly. And yet? His love is constant, perfect, never-changing. He picks me up time after time. I am His beloved, His precious daughter. He give me new mercy every morning, even when I give Him nothing in return. It is truly nothing short of WONDROUS. Now these two songs are forever linked in my mind. I’m so grateful for God who created music and for the song-writers who use their gifts to move me closer to the original Composer of all things beautiful.
Please listen to this song! My fave part starts around 1:56.