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Category Archives: Hymns and Songs

“Daring Daylight Escape” by Caedmon’s Call

“Daring Daylight Escape” by Caedmon’s Call

I’ve got my mind made up
I’ve got to love you or leave you fast
‘Cause I’ve been thinking clear
And I don’t know how long it’ll last
Just like Uri Gellar
I’m bound to twist the facts around
I’ve got to get them straight
Before my baby up and leaves town

‘Cause I can’t walk on water
And if I chase you I might drown
And I’m already up to my neck

If I may pose a question, it’ll only take a second
‘Cause I know that it’s getting late
And depending on your answer I might have to pack
And make a daring daylight escape
Because it’s either high time to make you mine
Or I swear it’s time to get out of town
So please say yes quick
‘Cause the sun’s going down

Yeah, well, London’s nice
But it’s the last place you want to go
But there’s no crime and
You can catch a Broadway show
‘Cause it’s just so far
And it’s bound to get a hold on you
And I’ve got front-page headlines
Pulled right out of yesterday’s news

You can read all about it
About boy meets girl and then
Screws the whole thing up
Just like always

If I may pose a question, it’ll only take a second
‘Cause I know that it’s getting late
And depending on your answer I might have to pack
And make a daring daylight escape
Because it’s either high time to make you mine
Or I swear it’s time to get out of town
So please say yes quick
‘Cause the sun’s going down

It’s no crime to love you
And my heart’s still doing time
It’s acting on its best behavior

If I may pose a question, it’ll only take a second
‘Cause I know that it’s getting late
And depending on your answer I might have to pack
And make a daring daylight escape
Because it’s either high time to make you mine
Or I swear it’s time to get out of town
So please say yes quick
‘Cause the sun’s going down

Written by Derek Webb

Dear God, this song and “Somewhere North” are both back to back on this album and written by the same guy. I’ve never put them together before, but is one the continuation of another? At the end of the day, it’s a guy just trying to figure out his path. In this case, it’s about love, but there are a lot of things that come up in life that bring us to a fork in the road. New job? More kids? Expand my business? Change churches? Start a ministry on the side? Join a protest? The list is endless. I come to these forks in the road every day. How do I respond?

My biggest frustration with myself is how seldom I see the fork in the road and immediately turn to you for guidance. I just plow through. Sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I get it right. And sometimes you bless the activity even though I was foolish.

Father, I thought about skipping this song because there weren’t any obvious theological implications since it’s pretty simply a love song. But there’s always something in the description of a life experience that brings us back to you. I think of Paul trying to figure out which way you wanted to send him. You kept closing doors until he found the right one. I think about his argument with Barnabas over Mark. They were just trying to figure it out. And you used all of that to still accomplish your will. Mark matured and even wrote Peter’s version of the Gospel. So please be with me through my ignorance, and ordain the steps I will walk today, even if I am a fool and I can’t see where I’m going.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 

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“Somewhere North” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Somewhere North” by Caedmon’s Call

It’s a muggy night in Houston
And all the intersections are
Like full serve stations
And I’m on my way to a familiar place

It’s cold in Kansas City
And you can no more hear me
Than I can see your face
And how I wish it was just you and me

We wouldn’t have to talk above the crowd
We wouldn’t have to talk so loud

Yes, I give you my life and all I am
But what have I to give so I
Hand you a candid photograph
Of this little boy cause I
Have nothing to my name
But I can give you that

See I don’t miss the driving
Seems like forever, and
I’m always driving in my mind
I’m wearing out the road that gets me there

I’m driving till my eyes just can’t see straight
But I suppose it is getting late

Yes, I give you my life and all I am
But what have I to give so I
Hand you a candid photograph
Of this little boy cause I’ve
Got nothing to my name
And I can give you that

See I may never find the sleep
I’ve lost all feeling in my hands
And feet may touch the ground
But my mind’s somewhere north of here

Cause I give you my life and all I am
So what have I to give so I
Hand you a candid photograph
of this little boy
Cause I have nothing to my name
I’ve got nothing to my name
But I can give you that
And I will give you that

Dear God, first, I don’t think there is much here that is theological, but there is a ton here that is completely human. And if I consider the idea that you gave us all of these emotions and help us to sort through them then it makes this song as relevant as any I’ve done on this album.

I wanted to see if I could find any comments by the author or band about this song, and I found this comment by just a person who loves the song:

I love this song. The way Derek’s voice cracks and soars lends itself beautifully to the heart-wrenching sentiment in these lyrics. “We wouldn’t have to talk above the crowd / We wouldn’t have to talk so loud…” This will be my song until I find that person. “I’m always driving in my mind, and wearing out the road…”

Yeah, good music taps into nerves like this. I’ve been happily in a relationship for over 30 years now, but I remember this pain before I met my wife. I remember looking for that Eve to my Adam. I remember these feelings. And I’ve felt them in other ways since then. I’ve felt them when I was unemployed and looking for that next job. I’ve felt them when I was estranged from my children.

Father, thank you for the answered prayers in my life. Thank you for what you’re doing that I can and cannot see. Thank you for peace. I pray for those I love to find this peace as well. Heal our wounds. Make our pain count and use it to bring all of us closer to you regardless of our situations.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Petrified Heart” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Petrified Heart” by Caedmon’s Call

This old heart’s been left
Upon my sleeve
And I have paid as it’s been rent
into pieces

Seems everyone I’ve loved has
Taken a bit of my insides
I’m scattered as the woman whose body
Was torn for the twelve tribes

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?

And the easy-living Gnostic proud
Use their knowledge
Like a wrecking ball to tear me down
Flooding me with their fallacies
I can’t walk on this water
I’m starting to drown

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?

Strike this rock with your rod
I’ll take the blows
Till your living water begins to flow
As it flowed from the Man of Sorrows’ side
On that day when his body
Was torn for the twelve tribes

When did my heart get so petrified?
When did it get so hard to feel?
When did my heart get so afraid to love?
When did it get so hard?
When did it get so hard?

Written by Aaron Tate

Dear God, I’ve been anxious to get to this song. Frankly, it’s the one that inspired me to finally sit down and dig into this album a little more from beginning to end. This song reminds me of a friend. A couple of weeks ago, when I heard it for the first time in a long time, I called my wife over and read her some of the lyrics. It reminded her of our friend too. I decided I wanted to pray the spirit of this song over her. She’s been hurt, she feels betrayed. She’s been hurt by family, friends, boyfriends, etc. On paper, she has a lot going for her and a lot of people would trade for her life in an instant, but the scars from the past have left her, seemingly, unable to feel.

The biblical allusions in this song are interesting. Comparing the woman in Judges 19 (the Levite’s concubine–one of the more horrific stories in the Bible, in which there are no heroes, but only cowards and one victim) to this person’s pain is interesting. Victimized. Left for dead. Attacked by strangers and betrayed by one who was supposed to love her so that he could save himself. Awful. The story is really too terrible to read, and yet you included it in your scripture.

Then there is our hope. The rocky, petrified heart can still contain water. It can be a conduit through which your water can flow. We are reminded of this from the biblical allusions in the bridge:

  • “Strike this rock with your rod, I’ll take the blows, Till your living water begins to flow” (Exodus 17:6 – [God speaking to Moses] I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.) – This story was a result of the people grumbling about God and having been brought out of Egypt just to die. In verse 7 it says, “And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not.” Well, there are times when I wonder if you are really there. I wonder if my friend wonders that too. 
  • “As it flowed from the Man of Sorrows’ side on that day when his body was torn for the twelve tribes” (John 19:33-34 – But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. In stead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side with a spear; bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.) – It’s important to remember that Jesus experienced much of what any of us experience that would harden our hearts. Rejection by family. Poverty. Want. Betrayal by everyone around him.

Father, the words of Rich Mullins in the song “Bound to Come Some Trouble” come to mind: There’s bound to come some trouble to your life, that ain’t nothing to be afraid of. There’s bound to come some trouble to your life, that ain’t not reason to fear. I know there’s bound to come some trouble to your life. Reach out to Jesus. Hold on tight. He’s been there before, I think he knows what it’s like. And you’ll find he’s there. I pray these words over my friend, and I pray them over myself. Help us to reach out to Jesus and experience the healing of the mercy given to us and that we can give to others. Help us to experience that freedom.

It’s in that same Jesus’s name that I pray all of this,

Amen

 

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“Climb On (A Back That’s Strong)” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Climb On (A Back That’s Strong) by Caedmon’s Call

Oh, my soul
Sometimes we don’t know what to do
We work so hard
Being tough on our own
But now it’s me and you
Let’s give it up, sad bones
‘Cause we all fall on hard times
But you don’t have to stand up all alone
Just put your hand in mine

Climb on a back that’s strong
Hey, hey, you can get what you want
Climb on a back that’s strong

If you could save me a
A place in heaven
With a clean, well-lighted room
I’ll muscle up to Armageddon
And I’ll wave to you, Darlin’
Be home soon

And if you could show me
The story of love
I would write it
Again and again
And then you could be
The woman you need
If you just let me be
The man that I am

Climb on a back that’s strong
Hey, hey, you can get what you want
Climb on a back that’s strong

Oh, I don’t know
Sometimes we try too hard to see
But we got one down
And one more to go
That’s when you say to me

Climb on a back that’s strong
Hey, hey, you can get what you want
Climb on a back that’s strong

Climb on a back that’s strong
Hey, hey, you can get what you want
Climb on a back that’s strong, oh yeah

Climb on a back that’s strong
Hey, hey, you can get what you want
Climb on a back that’s strong, yeah, yeah

(written by Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal)

Dear God, this is one of the only songs on this album that wasn’t written by a band member. I’m a little fuzzy on the meaning of some of it as I look through the lyrics. The whole part about saving a place in heaven makes me wonder if the singer is talking to a terminally ill person and they are trying to help the person to be strong through their last days on earth, but I’m not sure. So I’ll just look at this song from a macro level.

The main message, I suppose, is that there are times when we need to encourage others to use us for strength. And then, and this is the hard one for me, I need to allow others to help me to be strong through my struggles. Frankly, it’s a lot easier for me to be there for someone else than it is for me to ask someone else to be there for me. But we need community. We need others. It is not good for man to be alone. No accomplished person is truly self-made. Everyone has at least one person who believed in them, encouraged them, guided them, and helped them. At least one, but likely there are many. Many, many. For me, I can look back on several people you put in my life and very specific times. I’d like to think I’ve been able to be that for others, but I don’t know that I’ve ever really been that consistent, long-term person that someone else might have needed.

Father, help me to simply respond to the people you put around me. Whether you put them there to help me or for me to help them (or both), give me eyes to see and a mind to interpret the situation as you see it. Give me a willing heart and and a persevering spirit. And do it all for your glory and not mine.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Table for Two” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Table for Two” by Caedmon’s Call

Danny and I spent another
Late night over pancakes
Talkin’ about soccer and
How every man’s just the same
We made speculations on the
Who’s and the when’s of our futures
And how everyone’s lonely
But still we just couldn’t complain

And how we just hate being alone
Could I have missed my only chance?
And now I’m just wasting my time
By lookin’ around

But ya know I no better
I’m not gonna worry about nuthin’
Because if the birds and the flower survive
Then I’ll make it okay
Given a chance and a rock
See which one breaks a window
See which one keeps me up all night
And into the day

Because I’m so scared of being alone
That I forget what house I live in
But it’s not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call

Well this day’s been crazy
But everything’s happened on schedule
From the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt
Cause you knew how you’d save me
Before I fell dead in the garden
And you knew this day
Long before you made me out of dirt

And you know the plans that you have for me
And you can’t plan the end
and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace
Just to get me to sleep.

Dear God, the video above was recorded about 15 years after this song was released, and his short introduction resonated with me. His final words before he started singing it described by unarticulated thoughts regarding the overall truth to this song when you look at it (and life) with older eyes: “Everybody, just enjoy the season of life that you are in.”

Of course, that’s easy to go back and tell my younger self, but am I doing that now? Am I enjoying this season of life? It makes me wonder how I would describe this season. I guess I could label it as empty nest/aging parents/stable career/good health. Wow, that’s not a bad season at all. When looking at it from a Texan’s point of view of the seasons, I’d call it a nice fall. The harshness of summer (teenagers) is over. The winter of our own health issues is not yet here. There are struggles, to be sure, but they are just the fluctuations of a solid fall. But back to my question: Am I enjoying this season of life? Will I look up and it will be gone? There are parts of my life’s history that I miss and I wouldn’t mind living again. The good news is that I feel like I knew what I had at the time and I enjoyed them. Will I look back at this period and feel the same, or will I have missed how nice it really is?

Father, help me to consider all things joy. All things. I’m sorry for taking so much of this for granted. I promise I try not to, but I do it anyway. Thank you that you’ve not only been singlely good to me, but you been doubly good as well. Find me faithful with everything you’ve given to me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 

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“Where I Began” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

 

“Where I Began” by Caedmon’s Call

The grass looked greener on the other side
So I tried to, snatch myself from your hand
Caught a boat to anywhere but Nineveh
And, well you know, I got spit back on dry land.

Give me purity and give me continence
But oh no, not yet.
Like a coin hiding in the corner
Trying not to be swept
And I was trying not to be swept.

Kicking against these goads
Sure did cut up my feet
And didn’t your hands get bloody
As you washed them clean (you washed them!),

Here I am again, back where I began
Try as I may I can’t get away from you
And all of these roads lead me to roam,
Bring me back home.
Here I am again, back where I began.

So you have yourself your ninety nine (ninety nine),
Isn’t that enough for you?
Still you followed me to the shadowed valley
Carried me on your shoulders too.

I’ve done the work of Sisyphus
Thinking that I could get over this hill
But the one thing I can’t get over now…(is the)
Is the force of your will.

Here I am again, back where I began
Try as I may I can’t get away from you
And all of these roads lead me to roam,
Bring me back home.
Here I am again, back where I began.

Here I am again, back where I began
Try as I may I can’t get away from you
And all of these roads lead me to roam,
Bring me back home.
Here I am again, back where I began.

Dear God, well, here’s another great song that is just full of biblical reference, and happens to be a really enjoyable song to listen to as well. I’ve always noticed the references to familiar Bible stories in this song, but I’ve never really thought about the theme of how these stories fit together. This should be interesting.

The grass looked greener on the other side
So I tried to, snatch myself from your hand
Caught a boat to anywhere but Nineveh
And, well you know, I got spit back on dry land.

John 10:28 – “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Jonah 1:1-3a,17, 2:16 – The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed to Tarshish…Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights…And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

When thinking about Jesus talking in John 10 about not letting any get snatched from his hand, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about snatching myself. But isn’t that what I do? “Worshiping you and spending time with you doesn’t sound like much fun today. I have some things I’d rather do instead.” Then I start doing them. At least I can say that I do, indeed, start to miss you after a while.

Give me purity and give me continence
But oh no, not yet.
Like a coin hiding in the corner
Trying not to be swept
And I was trying not to be swept.

Luke 15:8 – “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.

Kicking against these goads
Sure did cut up my feet
And didn’t your hands get bloody
As you washed them clean (you washed them!)

Acts 26:14 – “We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “

John 13:8 – “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 

The reference to the goads takes my rebellion to the next level. Not only am I leaving you and hiding from you, but a goad is something an animal worker uses to get an animal to do its will. But like Paul was actively working against you, there are times when my selfishness actually gets in the way of your plan for me, for others, and for the world. But there you are, washing us clean.

So you have yourself your ninety nine (ninety nine),
Isn’t that enough for you?
Still you followed me to the shadowed valley
Carried me on your shoulders too.

Luke 15:-6a – “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. 

When I read the parable about the hundred sheep and the thrill of finding the lost one, it made me think of Jesus being found by Joseph and Mary in the temple. He was too big at that point for Joseph’s shoulders, but I’ll bet their anger melted pretty quickly when they found him. He knew what it was like to see that kind of love for him from his parents.

I’ve done the work of Sisyphus
Thinking that I could get over this hill
But the one thing I can’t get over now…(is the)
Is the force of your will.

So now we get a little Greek mythology. Here’s the beginning of the Wikipedia entry for Sisyphus:

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity.

“Self aggrandizing”

“Craftiness”

“Deceitfulness”

Yes, I’ve lied to you, myself, and others over the years. Who am I kidding? Maybe not so long ago. But here I am again, back where I began. And try as I may, I can’t get away from you. All of these roads that lead me to roam bring me back home. Here I am again, back where I began. I’m sorry for leaving.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Faith My Eyes” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

 

“Faith My Eyes” by Caedmon’s Call

As I survey the ground for ants
Looking for a place to sit and read
I’m reminded of
The streets of my home town
How much they like this concrete
That’s warm beneath my feet

And how I’m all wrapped up
In my mother’s face
With a touch of my father
Just up around the eyes
And the sound of my brother’s laugh
More wrapped up in what binds our
Ever distant lives.

But if I must go
Things I trust will be better off without me
But I don’t want to know
Life is better off a mystery

So keep on coming
These lines on the road
Keep me responsible
Be it a light or a heavy load
Keep me guessing
These blessings in disguise
I’ll walk with grace me feet
And faith my eyes

The hometown weather is on TV
And I imagine the lives
Of the people living there
And I’m curious if they imagine me
They just want to leave,

I wish that I could stay
I get turned around
And I mistake my happiness for blessing
And I’m blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I’m dressing

So keep on coming
These lines on the road
Keep me responsible
Be it a light or a heavy load
Keep me guessing
These blessings in disguise
I’ll walk with grace me feet
And faith my eyes

So I’ll sing a song of my home town
Breathe the air and walk the streets
Maybe find a place to sit and read
But the ants are welcome company

So keep on coming
These lines on the road
Keep me responsible
Be it a light or a heavy load
Keep me guessing
These blessings in disguise
I’ll walk with grace me feet
And faith my eyes

Dear God, not all songs have to beat you over the head with religious talk or explicit prayers to you to speak to my soul. This song is a great example of a Christian just kind of taking some contemplative moments to work through some things. Instead of going through this one verse by verse, I want to just pull out a couple of phrases that speak to me because, like all good poetry, a lot of this was written for the poet himself and wasn’t intended for me. But it does give me a peek into the life and struggles of a fellow believer as he works out his path and his faith with fear and trembling. :

The first verse:

It’s interesting to go back and remember being away from home for the first time. My memories are a little clouded, but I remember being a freshman in college and trying to build new routines. I was, for the first time, having a life experience completely separate from my parents or siblings. I was building a new life in a new place, in a totally different city. I remember trying several things out to see what would work. I would find different places to read my Bible. I tried out jogging around campus. I tried out the different cafeterias on campus to see which one I liked. I tried out some different friends, ultimately hanging out mainly with my roommate and two other guys. I remember walking across campus one morning and hearing the bells in the administration building playing a hymn and thinking that you were there on campus and welcome. While it was a Christian school, it was not as conservative as other Christian schools, but you were there, and I was grateful. I’m trying to remember what I did for church. I think I went somewhere, but I can’t quite remember where. I think I tried several churches that first year.

Even now, I live a life that is completely different than my family of origin. It’s in a different town. I have a career that none of them has experienced. I’m fortunate to be 50 years old and have all of them still living. But we are all certainly different and living different lives.

And the sound of my brother’s laugh
More wrapped up in what binds our
Ever distant lives.

My siblings and I are very different from each other. I joke that my brother and I are photo negatives of each other. Outside of a love for cars (especially old cars), we have nothing in common. But social media and texting have been a remarkable thing for my brother, sister, and me. Even though we live in different cities, I would say that being able to check in with each other via text and social media has drawn us closer over the last 5-10 years than we were the previous 20. I’m grateful for that because I really do love them and want the best for them. And we’ve all been able to support each other through different trials in ways that we weren’t before. I’m glad that I would not describe our relationships now as “ever distant.”

I get turned around
And I mistake my happiness for blessing
And I’m blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I’m dressing

The whole idea of happiness is an interesting one. What is success? What does a blessed life look like? How do I misinterpret the different situations or realities in my life? When things were really rough seven years ago, did I miss that I was actually living in the middle of your blessing at that moment? When things are going well, do I interpret that as you being extra happy with me? Am I any closer to seeing the reality that you see, or do I still just see the world through my own eyes. That brings me to the chorus.

So keep on coming
These lines on the road
Keep me responsible
Be it a light or a heavy load
Keep me guessing
These blessings in disguise
I’ll walk with grace me feet
And faith my eyes

I suppose this chorus kind of sums things up for me. Keep coming life. Father, help me to do what I need to do to live up to the responsibilities you have for me. Help me to let go of evaluating my life by measuring only the things I can see and understand, but to embrace every circumstance (be it a light or heavy load) as being part of the journey you have for me. Help me to walk in grace. And help me to see my life through faith and not what my eyes actually see because my eyes lie to me all of the time.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Shifting Sand” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Shifting Sand” by Caedmon’s Call

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And everyday I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind
I hear it all depends on my faith
So I’m feeling precarious
The only problem I have
With these mysteries
Is they’re so mysterious

And like a consumer
I’ve been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my fifteen minutes of fame
Then I’d be secure

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace
Stand on grace

I’ve begged You for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily
A glimpse of Your back-side glory
And this soaked alter going ablaze
But you know I’ve seen so much
And I explained it away

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found my self standing on Your grace
It’d been there all the time

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace
Stand on grace

Dear God, I’ll confess I’ve never cared for this son in terms of tune and sound, but the lyrics are really something. I’m so glad I married a woman who taught me to appreciate the power of words in poetry. How to marvel at the efficiency and how you can say so much with meticulously selected words. All of the songs on this album hit that nerve with me. I can’t say that they are great poetry, but I think they are great song lyrics.

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And everyday I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind
I hear it all depends on my faith
So I’m feeling precarious
The only problem I have
With these mysteries
Is they’re so mysterious

Once again, there are all kinds of hidden references to scripture in this song. In this verse, they start with a little Paul.

Romans 7:15 – I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Pretty simple there. And we’ve all been there. A friend who is a recovering alcoholic texted me this morning to ask for prayer because some coworkers were either drinking or about to drink. He wanted prayers for strength. I get it. I have my addictions too. Why do I do what I hate and why don’t I do what I want to do? It’s nice to know that Paul identified with us on this one. Sometimes he seems a little too perfect to me. It’s good to know that there might have been some things with which he struggled. I’d sooner learn from and admire the person who has fought, failed, overcome, failed, and overcome again than the person who never failed at all. This verse makes Paul much more accessible for me because I certainly relate to these words.

I don’t want to miss the rest of this verse, though. My faith can seem so thin to me. Jesus talked a lot about the disciples and the people around him having faith or believing. From early in his ministry all the way through his conversation with Thomas after the resurrection, it’s a big deal to him, and yet I think everyone in those stories was like me and found their faith lacking when compared to what Jesus was requesting. It’s probably why I love the father who wants his son healed in Mark 9:21-24:

Mark 9:21-24 – Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has be been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

That goes for everything. I lose faith, and it’s so silly of me to lose faith. It’s so silly of me to trust my eyes and my intellect because I have been proven wrong so many times. And you have been proven faithful so many times.

And like a consumer
I’ve been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my fifteen minutes of fame
Then I’d be secure

I’d like to think I’m past this desire to accumulate in my life, but I’m not. I want more in savings. I want to buy what I want when I want it. I want to know that my needs (food, shelter, luxuries, etc.) will be covered. True, I don’t pursue uber wealth, but I certainly put a lot of faith in how much money is in my bank account.

I’ve begged You for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily
A glimpse of Your back-side glory
And this soaked alter going ablaze
But you know I’ve seen so much
And I explained it away

Okay, here is where we get a lot of allusions to Bible stories–especially Old Testament, which I like.

John 20:24-29 – Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to the, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the hose again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out  your hand and put it into my said. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Exodus 7:8-10 — The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake. So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it because s snake.

Of course, there are a lot of stories of Jesus healing lepers and the prophecies in Isaiah of the lion being gentle and eating peacefully alongside animals it would normally eat for food.

Exodus 33:18-23 – Then Moses said, “Now sow me your glory.” And the Lord said, ” I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

And then there was Elijah (whom I love).

1 Kings 18:30-39 – Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been torn down: Elijah took twelve stones—according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel will be your name”— and he built an altar with the stones in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold about four gallons. Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. He said, “Fill four water pots with water and pour it on the offering to be burned and on the wood.” Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. And then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time.  So the water ran all around the altar; he even filled the trench with water.

At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things. Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.”

Then the Lord’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!”

And what happens to Elijah after this story? Well, he kills all the prophets of Baal, but he eventually gets scared and flees to Horeb. Amazing!

As far as the last part about explaining away your blessings, and not realizing you are the author of the good that happened, I try, but I know I miss what you’ve done all of the time. To my credit on this one, however, I do try to give you credit for the blessings we have. I just don’t seem to have faith that you can do it again.

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found my self standing on Your grace
It’d been there all the time

This whole imagery of shifting sand is a good one. It reminds me of the parable of the house build on the sand.

Matthew 7:24-27 – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; and it fell with a great crash.”

So while I might try to build my life on solid rock, but faith can just get tossed around by the waves. But at the end of the day, it’s your grace and not my faith that is enough. My faith will never be enough. It’s not even as big as a mustard seed, but your grace bridges the gap and meets me the rest of the way.

Father, help me to truly live in this victory. I almost prayed that you increase my faith, but that’s like praying for patience. I know better than that. But I am your servant and I will submit to any lessons/life lessons you have for me. You are my God. Thank you for your grace and for understanding before I was even born that my faith would never be as strong as you want it to be.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“Thankful” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“Thankful” by Caedmon’s Call

I ran across an old box of letters
While I was bagging up
Some clothes for Goodwill
You know I had to laugh
That the same old struggles
That plagued me then
Are plaguing me still
I know the road is long
From the ground to glory
But a boy can hope
He’s getting some place
But you see, I’m running from
The very clothes I’m wearing
And dressed like this
I’m fit for the chase

No, there is none righteous
Not one who understands
There is none who seek God
No not one, no not one

I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own

‘Cause we’re all stillborn
And dead in our transgressions
We’re shackled up
To the sin we hold so dear
So what part can I play
In the work of redemption
I can’t refuse, I cannot add a thing

‘Cause I am just like Lazarus and
I can hear your voice
I stand and rub my eyes
And walk to you
Because I have no choice

I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own
I’m so thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own

It’s by grace I have been saved
Through faith that’s not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast

Dear God, I think most people–Christians and non-Christians alike–can relate to this song. Why do I still have the same struggles? Again, this group has very poetic lyrics that say so much more than the words that are used.

I ran across an old box of letters
While I was bagging up
Some clothes for Goodwill
You know I had to laugh
That the same old struggles
That plagued me then
Are plaguing me still

It is amazing how there are just some things that plague me. Insecurities. Vindictiveness. Lust. Selfishness. Gluttony. The same old struggles that plagued me then are plaguing me still.

I know the road is long
From the ground to glory
But a boy can hope
He’s getting some place
But you see, I’m running from
The very clothes I’m wearing
And dressed like this
I’m fit for the chase

So am I trying to run from who I am? Do I have it wrong? Am I trying too much under my own power to address these issues instead of just embracing the place where you have me now and accepting your grace?

No, there is none righteous
Not one who understands
There is none who seek God
No not one, no not one

I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own

I was in a meeting yesterday and I felt compelled to point out to the participants at the end that a lot of the good fortune we had discussed during the meeting had come from you and wasn’t really due to any of our own brilliance or even hard work. It was just you honoring our prayers. I hope it didn’t come across as too holy or fake because my desire to glorify you and not us was genuine.

‘Cause we’re all stillborn
And dead in our transgressions
We’re shackled up
To the sin we hold so dear
So what part can I play
In the work of redemption
I can’t refuse, I cannot add a thing

Born into sin. From our first breath we are about ourselves and about survival. But this part about the part that we “play in the work of redemption.” There is nothing I bring to it except repentance and submission.

‘Cause I am just like Lazarus and
I can hear your voice
I stand and rub my eyes
And walk to you
Because I have no choice

It’s interesting to draw this comparison to Lazarus’s resurrection. He had no choice. He was dead and gone and you called him back. Presumably (at least on this side of the dividing line) you didn’t ask his permission (or opinion) to bring him back. You just did it because you wanted him back. I wonder what the rest of his earthly life was like.

So the fact that I am submitted to you now–does that mean I was destined to be here? How much choice did I have. Or was I just involuntarily drawn to you?

It’s by grace I have been saved
Through faith that’s not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast

Father, thank you for saving me through means beyond anything I could accomplish. Thank you that I cannot point to anything within me that has brought me here, but that I can simply rest in you. There is so much more freedom and peace in just accepting you instead of performing for you. It makes loving you a lot more fun. Help me to love you well. Oh, and I am very sorry for the sin I still hold so dear.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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“There You Go” by Caedmon’s Call (40 Acres Album)

“There You Go” by Caedmon’s Call

Is this the strange feeling of you
Working all for good
Cuz I am so confused
I don’t even ask for what I should
When I asked for a deserved stone
You broke and gave your body as bread
And even the stone dropped down
And rolled away, spoke of the one who bled

There you go working good from my bad
There you go making robes from my rags
There you go melting crowns from my calves
There you go working good of all I have
Cuz what I have is not that bad

When I ask for a deserved serpent
You gave a net full of fish
Even the serpent that told the lie
When lifted high foretold the gift

There you go working good from my bad
There you go making robes from my rags
There you go melting crowns from my calves
There you go working good of all I have
Cuz what I have is not that bad

For you so loved the unlovable
That you gave the ineffable
That who so believes the unbelievable
Will attain the unattainable

There you go working good from my bad
There you go making robes from my rags
There you go melting crowns from my calves
There you go working good of all I have

There you go
There you go
There you go
There you go
Cuz what I have is not that bad
It’s not that bad

Dear God, I thought I’d never get this one started. I had the hardest time getting the formatting of the lyrics correct.

I think I’m going to start a series on most of the songs from Caedmon’s Call’s 40 Acres album. The songwriting is very poetic.

This is the first song and the references to scripture are all over it. I wonder if a lot of Christians who are not as familiar with the Bible would miss them. Probably.

Let’s see what kinds of scripture references we can figure out for this one:

Is this the strange feeling of you working all for good?

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When I asked for a deserved stone you broke and gave your body as bread

Matthew 7:9 – “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”

Matthew 26:26 – “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 

Matthew 27:50-51a – And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

And even the stone dropped down and rolled away spoke of the one who bled

I’m actually not sure what this is referencing. Judges 9 when a woman drops a stone on Abimelek? I don’t know. Obviously, a stone was rolled away at the tomb when Jesus was resurrected, but I’m not sure what they are referencing here.

When I asked for a deserved serpent you gave a net full of fish

Matthew 7:10 – Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

Even the serpent that told the lie, when lifted high foretold the gift

Genesis 3:4-5 – “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Numbers 21:9 – So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

John 3:14 – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

For you so loved the unlovable that you gave the ineffable. That who believes the unbelievable can attain the unattainable.

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There you go working good from my bad.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

There you go making robes from my rags

Isaiah 64:6a – All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. 

Matthew 6:28-30 – “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clotes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith?” 

There you go making crowns from my calves

Exodus 32:1,4,19-20 – When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him…He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”…When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. 

1 Corinthians 9:25 – Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.


 

Father, I think it all circles back to the first line of the song:

Is this the strange feeling of you working all for good? Cuz I am so confused, I don’t even ask for what I should.

My eyes can lie to me. My intuition and intellect are foolish. My comprehension is short-sighted and shallow. So I can look around and see things I don’t like, but I will 1.) try to see what you are actually doing that maybe I’ve missed, and 2.) simply have faith that there are things I cannot see that are part of your plan. And maybe I’ll never see the good or understand your plan on this side of life. That’s okay. I trust you. I believe these scriptures. I believe Jesus. I believe your Holy Spirit. I believe you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

 

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