More Than A Song

“I’ll bring you more than a song,

More than a song,

More than a song”.

From “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman

Okay, so where are all these ramblings about music and the amount of time I have seemingly wasted on it going?  One of the most profound things I have read in recent years was in a book my wife gave me about eighteen months ago.  I take no credit for the thought process, but it left me nothing less than awestruck and a little short of breath.

The book is entitled “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die (or The Eschatology of Bluegrass)”.  It was written by an incredibly gifted and creative guy called David Crowder and I cannot recommend his two books highly enough. (See What Have I Been Reading? above)

As I read the book, I realised I’d rarely really had reason to mourn.  Since reading it I’ve written more “with sympathy” cards than ever before and been to a couple of funerals.  One of the funerals was in connection with a tragedy which broke the hearts of our church community (and much of the city in which I live) to the very core and I wonder if we will ever be quite the same.

The one thing that really impacted me was the following.  The author was deeply affected when a woman in his church contracted cancer.  He decided to explore the issues of death and the soul and began penning songs and trying to create some kind of concept album around these themes.  A far cry from the subject matter that usually sells to the “praise and worship” buying populous.  He suffered some sort of creative block and doubted his ability or even the merit in progressing the project further.  During that time, his pastor and the woman who was now in remission from cancer, but whom had been the original inspiration to the project, really encouraged him to press on with it. 

The woman died.  The pastor also died in really sudden and unexpected circumstances.  The author discovered that he needed the songs that these two individuals had inspired and encouraged him to write in order to help him through the aftermath of the loss.

He got to thinking.  He discovered the Hallel.  It consists of 6 Psalms that are recited at the Jewish Passover celebration.  A group of songs really with recitations like “His love endures forever”.  So on the night of the last supper, he reckons we can assume with a fair amount of safety that Jesus recited the Hallel with his disciples.  The last night they were together – the night before the crucifixion. 

So, if we believe that scripture is inspired by God, that it is God breathed, and if we believe that Jesus is divine, that He is God incarnate, then would it be unreasonable to wonder whether God breathed out a song that He knew He would later need in His human form? 

Did God know that something as simple as a piece of art could help shape the reality He saw with His human eyes and heart?  That in a moment of such weight and enormity it could make all the difference?  Is Christ so human and vulnerable that He could need a song as much as I do sometimes?

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4 Responses to “More Than A Song”


  1. 1 duncanmcf July 25, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I think there’s a lot of truth in that, albeit it’s hard to know for certain. I’ve not read the Crowder book yet. I heard a Rob Bell sermon once where he talked of the feasts of Israel (at least I think it was him, might be wrong) and he noted that the timings of each feast is exactly the same as various critical stages of a birth, and then the final stage of the birth is the 7th stage, where the name YAHWEH sounds like a series of breathing – so if God designed birth to reflect who he is, and the feasts to match with His patterns of birth, it’s not inconceivable in the slightest that He would have given these songs too.

  2. 2 thestatethatiamin July 26, 2008 at 10:12 am

    I guess I’m just increasingly learning how creative our God is and how He spoke through different means in the days before the printing press and current levels of literacy.

  3. 3 brunettekoala July 26, 2008 at 10:42 am

    One thing we’ve been seriously lacking for years is an element of lament in some of our songs. We’re good at putting on masks and singing songs of joy and celebration.

    But where are our songs of mourning and struggle.

    Most of the Psalms are full of lamenting.

    Like singing ‘O Happy Day’ would not have been appropriate to where our church was at last June for example.

    For some reason with the birth of modern worship music it seems that as worshippers we shy away or avoid using music and singing to help us through our struggles

    Why?

    For 1000s of years, singing was what kept people going, what brought people together as they cried out to God.

  4. 4 thestatethatiamin July 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    You are SO right. That is one of the reasons that whilst I love the freedom that worship music can bring, I actually rarely listen to it (as “what have I been listening to?” probably shows). Ok, so there’s the first confession of a worship leader. Everyone probably thinks my iPod is crammed full of CCM – it really isn’t!

    My experience of the Christain life hasn’t been “Oh Happy Day” all the way. I find something a lot more honest at the fringes and it seems that often it’s the non-christian songer song writers that are grappling with the issues in a more honest, raw and emotional way. I’m gravitated towards that.

    “Motion Sickness” by Bright Eyes is a real case in point. It sounds exactly how the world sounded in 2005/2006 and I reckon Conor Oberst (lead singer and main guy behind the band) was actually cloer to God than he’ll ever know.

    I expect there will be more of that to come on the blog in the future posts…


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