Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not just Christian music

Those of you who follow this blog will doubtless have noticed that some time has passed between posts – an embarrassing and almost inappropriate amount of time. There is no excuse for this, really. My only defence is that it is because I am just like you. I am busy and tired (oh, how busy and tired we all are) and sometimes I drop the ball. Sometimes that ball is labeled ‘administrative task’ or ‘work’ or ‘friendships’, but more often than not that ball is labeled ‘time with God’.

It has been three weeks since I have written a blog post, and even longer than that since I have picked up my bible and read it in my own time, for my own personal growth. I have been too ‘busy’ and too ‘tired’. But it has not been three weeks since I have listened to Grace Has Come.

Romans is an intimidating book of the Bible. I have studied it, but I wouldn’t dare say I have fully understood it. I look forward to grappling with it for the rest of my life. The songs of Grace Has Come are quite simple summaries of the key themes: God’s righteousness, our condemnation before the law, our salvation by grace through faith, our transformation by the work of the Spirit, our mandate to live as God’s united and chosen people.

Each of these themes is integral to understanding the gospel and should floor us equally. Day to day though, the significance of one sometimes strikes us more than another. Two songs in particular and understanding the work of the Spirit have been poignant for me over the last few weeks.

The song Glory Awaits is inspired by Romans 8 and life through the Spirit. It is still extraordinary to me that we are able to understand pain and suffering through the lens of an eternal perspective. My personal ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’ of the late is barely worth a mention, but as I read the news each day and my heart was grieved, these words came to me:

Storm-tossed pilgrim, if you’re struggling
It won’t be long, it won’t be long
Glory awaits
For all God’s redeemed
Glory awaits
And we’ll be free

Another song became a prayer for me. When I felt small and insignificant at work, when I didn’t want to work as one working for the Lord, when it became difficult to love people as I should, I repeated the words of My Life is an Offering, inspired by Romans 12:

Jesus, be glorified
Jesus, be magnified
Let me be a pleasing sacrifice
Jesus, be glorified
Jesus, be magnified
Here on the altar
My life is an offering

Overall this album is easy to digest, is catchy and memorable. It captures the basics well enough. But as I sit here with the lyrics in one hand and Romans open in the other, I realise how much is missing. It was always going to be an ambitious task to fit the contents of Romans into 13 songs!

Grace Has Come has been an unexpected aide for the last little while. It brought God’s word to the fore of my mind at a time when I might have ignored him altogether. Being ‘busy’ and ‘tired’ are never real excuses, but we have become experts at reasoning that they are. I think we’ll spend the rest of our lives disciplining ourselves to read God’s word regularly. Ok well, I will. But if that happens to be you too, may I suggest that listening to this CD and reading Romans would be a good start?

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