Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conversations Through Music: Part One

I've always heard God through music. Usually, it's contemporary Christian (Tenth Avenue North, Casting Crowns, Building 429, etc.) Lately though, God has been speaking to me through hymns. They may seem out-of-date, or archaic, but they have great truth. They were written by fallible people, who had daily struggles, and had questions. Somewhat like the Psalms. (which deserve an entire post to themselves, maybe more).
Over the next few days, I will share my favorites, and the way that I interpret them.

You Raise Me Up (this is technically not a hymn, but still has that feel, to me)

When I am down, and oh, my soul so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come, and sit awhile with me

Weary. What a perfect word to describe the way I've been feeling. Not depressed, or even stressed, but weary. The word burden also describes the feeling, and brings to mind what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
I love the imagery of literally sitting with God, too.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up, to more than I can be

Mountains doesn't just mean physical mountains. To me, it means anything big that tries to separate you from God.(notice, I say tries to, 'cause God says that nothing can separate him from us) . In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." What if he wasn't talking about a real, tangible mountain, but a metaphorical one (e.g the mountain of anxiety or fear, or a lack of self-confidence).

With the idea of walking on water, it reminds me of the Casting Crowns song Voice of Truth
"Oh, what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in, onto the crashing waves. To step out of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown, where Jesus is, and he's holding out his hands. But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me. Reminding me of all the time I've tried before and failed." It's scary, to get out of a safe, comfortable boat, and try to walk on turbulent, rough water, but it's worth it.

I love the imagery of "standing on shoulders". For me, this is something that a Daddy does, to help his daughter (or son) to see, 'cause there are obstacles in the way. It was also comforting, at the end of a long day, to have my Daddy carry me. I may be a little big for my earthly Daddy to carry me, but my heavenly Daddy will always be able to, if I let him.
The "more than I can be" means that with God, I can accomplish so much more than I could without him, like what Paul says in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength".

sheet music, cc, via flickr caljuggler, modified via picnik