Songs That Move Us: Grief

During the last few months I have served on our church’s Worship Pastor Search Team. It has been clear to me in this season how much music has the power to touch our souls. Many of us have preferences and opinions when it comes to music. Often those preferences come from our experiences. I am no different than most. I have my own set of experiences. I grew up in a very traditional church in Bristol, England. We sang the great hymns of our faith. I love those hymns, and I will refer to many of them in the weeks to come, God willing. I also have another great influence on my musical experience. I served as a youth pastor for more than ten years. During that time I learned to play the guitar and learned many contemporary songs. I have an eclectic experience, for sure!

One of the things I’ve really appreciated about some of the worship pastor candidates is that they try to call others to focus on something beyond our subjective experiences and preferences. Several have encouraged others to focus on content: Are the words of the song Scriptural and clear? They also call others to focus on sing-ability: Is this a song that we can sing together? Those are both good and God-honoring reminders.

Over the course of the coming weeks I would like to share with you some of the songs that have moved me and others. The first one I’ve picked has had a profound impact on me in the recent season of grieving with the Riddle family and the home-going of their daughter, Lanie. I had heard this song before, but have listened to it many times in the days following Lanie’s hospitalization in Memphis and her passing. This song is strong in substance, and also conveys the condition of my heart. Songs of lament can be hard to write and balance. If the author isn't careful, it can sound like a song of complaining or whining. But this song takes my favorite hymn (we will come back to that great one) and adapts the words to a really strong melody. It reminds me of God’s sovereign love and power over all things. I love the second verse that calls me to turn from my emotions and focus on my King. Here are the words:

 

"It Is Well"

 

Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

Seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well with me

 

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can't see

And this mountain that's in front of me

Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

 

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name

 

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

When I hear this song I am reminded of this great passage:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:31-35 ESV

Have a great week.

Pastor Glyn