What Susan Said

Last night David and I were sitting in the dark living room, exhausted, talking about our day, and I mentioned that I’d seen the set list for The Local Show’s Rich Mullins birthday tribute show.

setlist

We talked through some of the songs and realized that some were unfamiliar to him. He didn’t have the album that they were on…so many years ago.

It was then that I had the unique experience of introducing my husband to a twenty-plus-year-old “new” song, one that I wore out on my cassette of Rich’s The World As Best As I Can Remember It, Volume 2.

But I remember what Susan said
How love is found in the things we’ve given up
More than in the things that we have kept

And he said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that song, and I’m hooked.”

I wonder what Rich would be writing now if he was still here.

(This seems like a good time to put in a plug for one of my favorites, Andrew, who is releasing a greatest hits album. There are some new songs on there, too.)

Desire Like Dynamite, Jayber Crow, and A Rocha

I had a dream that the mountains cried like a child for their mother

There was poison in the seam and I saw eastern Tennessee flooding under

Black the hope, the Holy Ghost

a deaf man hears inaudible thunder

The hush, the chill, the iron will of man

Sweeping everything in sight…with dynamite

The other day I was driving down the road listening to Sandra McCracken’s latest album, Desire like Dynamite. The title song is maybe my favorite on the album. In it, Sandra compares “the iron will of man” across the landscape to our struggle with will and desires within us and our children.

Then suddenly, I encountered one of those blessed moments of connection that happen with good art and literature. I was back in the concluding chapters of Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow, watching Jayber sleep in the Nest Egg, a treasured bit of forest on a neighbor’s farm:

Everything there seemed to belong where it was. That was why I went there. And I went to feel the change that that place always made in me. Always, as soon as I came in under the big trees, I began to go slowly and quietly. This was not because I was hunting (I hunted in other places), but because in a place where everything belongs where it is, you do not want to disturb anything. I went slowly and quietly. I watched where I put my feet. I went for solace and comfort, for a certain quietness of mind that came to me in no other place. Even the nettles and mosquitoes comforted me, for they belonged where they were.

At the end of the novel, the Nest Egg is gone, sacrificed to the iron will and carelessness of man.

I dreamed I heard the sound of the last Great God bird singing

Lying in the trees I could hear the ax machines that were ringing

This is like a fable to be told but I’d rather put it down

Will we choose the noise of our desire,

Or the hope that makes no sound?

Those who have ears, as the smoke it clears

will see things as they are

to bend the will, you first must change the heart…

If you’d like to read about Sandra’s visit to Mr. Berry’s farm, go here.

Also, please consider giving to the Nashville A Rocha project, which encourages people in integrating faith, creation care, and hospitality. You can get some music for a small amount of support to their campaign, which ends on July 2.

In Feast or Fallow

Words and music by Sandra McCracken

When the fields are dry, and the winter is long
Blessed are the meek, the hungry, the poor
When my soul is downcast, and my voice has no song
For mercy, for comfort, I wait on the Lord

In the harvest feast or the fallow ground,
My certain hope is in Jesus found
My lot, my cup, my portion sure
Whatever comes, we shall endure.
Whatever comes, we shall endure

On a cross of wood, His blood was outpoured
He Rose from the ground, like a bird to the sky
Bringing peace to our violence, and crushing death’s door
Our Maker incarnate, our God who provides.

come, oh come, Emman- u- el
come, oh come, Emman- u- el

When the earth beneath me crumbles and quakes
Not a sparrow falls, nor a hair from my head
Without His hand to guide me, my shield and my strength
In joy or in sorrow, in life or in death

Dragons Can Be Beaten

Our community is grieving here in Charlotte. This week we are saying goodbye to a 13 year old boy who was close to all of my boys. His loss was unexpected and quite sudden. His parents are some of our best friends.

I am grateful that the community is coming together to mourn and speaking truth to one another. I’m also grateful for music that tells the truth.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say in coming days, but for now, this should do:

And in the end, the end is
Oceans and oceans
Of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

If you are able to give to support our precious friends, please go here.

Sunday