OK- the title might be a little obtuse, but let's just say this edition of Musical Musing is On the Road (again?)...
Did you know that of all the metaphors and analogies used to describe life - across time and cultures - the one that seems darn near universal is a journey? It totally makes sense, of course, knowing that the nomadic life can be accounted for everywhere humans have established a foothold. Heck, even the penguins migrate!
If I'm right (and I sometimes am), you've wandered a bit farther down your own road since the last musical musings. This month has been a really journey for me, in every aspect of my life. I travelled to Iowa and Wisconsin, where I began my seminary journey with 14 of the most incredible men and women I've ever met. I've wandered back to the beginnings of our world with new eyes, learning to read our story in new ways. I've stumbled into a new version of the race against time, shuttling my son to activities with textbooks and highlighters in the car. I've found myself sitting with a future preacher's kid who wants to learn my Greek vocabulary!
Even as I sit at the same desk in the same house that I have typed at for the past three years, I know I'm not where I was three years ago. Some twists in my road have been exciting, others exhausting; some turns have brought joy and around others I've found grief and pain. But still I go forward, pressing on.
So, my co-journers in life, here's a short and varied Road Trip Mix of songs God has laid on my heart (and/or Freud has dropped into my iTunes) for this leg of my journey:
1. Obviously... On the Road Again by our muse Willie Nelson (Honeysuckle Rose Soundtrack, 1980)
While I'm not a big fan of Willie's nasal stylings, I have to say that every time I start a long drive, it comes into my head.. and like any good earworm, it stays a good long while..
Like a band of gypsies we roll down the highway...
we're the best of friends, insisting that the world keep turning our way,
and our way... is on the road again!
2. Show Me the Way... by Styx (Edge of the Century, 1990)
Yep, my hubby actually took me to see Dennis DeYoung perform this Spring. This one still gets me as I think about how hard it is for us to find our way - how many people are out there crying out for someone to show (and tell) them where the Truth is.
Every night I say a prayer in the hope that there's a heaven
And every day I'm more confused as the saints turn into sinners
All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay
And I feel this empty place inside, so afraid that Ive lost my faith
Show me the way, show me the way
Take me tonight to the river
And wash my illusions away
Show me the way...
3. Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) by Chris Rice (Run the Earth, Watch the Sky, 2003)
This is possibly the most beautiful description of the journey of faith I've ever heard. Starting with an invitation for the weak and wounded sinner to come, through the crawling, walking, crying, and dancing we live through as we grow in faith, then finally going home to be with God.
... And with your final heartbeat, Kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side...
and Fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus and live
I cry every time I sing along with Chris and think of the home-goings my loved ones experienced.
4. Mountain of God by Third Day (Wherever You Are, 2005)
Mac Powell and company are serious worship leaders in the guise of a southern rock band. Soulful and powerful. This is a great reminder of how our journey takes those twists and turns so that we can grow in our trust in God's strength and faithfulness. The chorus says it all:
Even though the journey's long, and I know the road is hard.
Well the one who's gone before me, He will help me carry on.
And after all that I've been through, now I realize the truth
that I must go through the valley to stand upon the Mountain of God.
5. Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker (In Christ Alone, 2006 or New Irish Hymns 2001)
If you're familiar with the Getty's music, you know the modern yet ancient feel he achieves in his hymns. This one has a haunting Celtic feel that is the prayer of one on the journey who realizes that the journey both brings and becomes a blessing in itself.
May this journey be a blessing, May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart's testing, With Your likeness let me wake
6. I'm Not Who I Was by Brandon Heath (Don't Get Comfortable, 2006)
This one is about a relationship that was broken, and the speaker realized when looking at an old photo that the pain is no longer about being hurt, it's about not forgiving the other person. A great snapshot of the way that our journeys really do change us.
Well the thing I find most amazing, In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about
I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how... I'm not who I was
7. This Road by Jars of Clay (Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage 2003)
This was the closer on the initial City on a Hill project CD. I think it'll make a fine benediction for this round of musings, too.
All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth
Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God's mercy holds us and we are His own
This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through
My iPod'll hold several hours more, so please share your comments and suggestions for more journey songs (no, not Journey songs, although they do complement Styx..
What songs have become a part of your journey? What a great playlist we could come up with together...