A long time ago I had the idea of writing about songs that have been meaningful in my life, perhaps telling stories in a semi-biographical manner. I shared that idea here in 2014, wrote one post in 2015, and then – nothing. But it’s been nagging at me for ages, and so more out of obedience in case it’s a God thing, and possibly just because it’s nice to look at something and say, “I wrote that,” here is the second in the “Soundtrack to My Life” series.
And here are the rules: I’ve made a playlist of lots of songs and each time I decide to write, I’ll hit play while it’s on shuffle. Whatever plays first is what I’ll write about – hence this post’s title, “Oh My God”.
The track is on Jars of Clay‘s 2006 album, “Good Monsters”, and is one from which I recall very few lyrics, nor does it hold any strong memory for me. However, there is some sort of melancholy within the song that reaches me every time. The first three verses are a prayer of concern about the state of the world, the church and my own soul. They rebel against the desire to put a happy sheen on everything, and instead note the reality of the mess in which we live and the weakness of our own faith.
“We make it worse when we don’t bleed” resonates with Derek McKelvey’s teaching at this year’s Castlewellan Holiday Week, as he shared about the freedom that comes from accepting the brokenness of the world and ourselves. It’s from that place of weakness that God’s power is demonstrated amongst the people and systems that we can affect. Donald English spoke at the Irish Methodist ‘Renewing the Church’ conference way back in 1997 about ‘vulnerable availability’ being a quality that every leader would need to hone in the new century. I think he was right on the money. The posture of humility and openness helps us to identify with people who are going through the mess of life and, like the litany of those needing rescue in the second half of the song, simply cry out, “Oh my God”.
View the lyrics to ‘Oh My God’ here