A Song on the End of the World

We don’t have very many contemporary songs written about the end of the age. I appreciate this one by Jess Ray, which combines serious references to Christ’s return with mentions of zombies and EMPs – and puts it all to a driving folk melody.

Select Lyrics:

Will there be zombies? 
Fires and floods? 
Will there be an EMP? 
Moons turned to blood?

Blessed is the man 
If he knows the lamb when he sees him
Cursed is the man who has money and food
And a place to hide
And a head full of knowledge 
And a heart full of pride
Cursed is the man if he does not know the lamb

“There’s Still Time” by Jess Ray

A Song for Struggling Saints

I love this song. I find it to be a good example of using holy imagination to explore true themes that resonate with Scripture and the experience of believers. In it the songwriters craft a fictional conversation between a struggling saint and Jesus. Notice the desperation of the saint, “the devil; Rides on my back every mile; And he won’t take his claws out of my skin; I’m sorry if I’m bleedin'” This broken saint is met by a laughing and welcoming savior, who engages him and then lavishes on him a tour of biblical history and the created universe. The song contains a promise that the struggling saint will be singing with Christ and the angels when “the army comes marching right down from the sky” and that “All of this is Mine! And yours too.” This saint is so beat up he is apologizing to Jesus for bleeding and doesn’t even know how to ask for help. But Christ laughs kindly because the the reality he knows is one in which this struggling saint is the heir of the universe. I love the line, “stuck our tongues out at the earth and slowed its rotation.” Ha! I guess that’s one way to demonstrate being a true heir of the world. The interwoven melody of the older song, “When the Saints Come Marching In,” is great as well. Lyrics below.

He said to me where is your halo
Where are your wings your black book bible
I’ve lost them all but you know it’s not your fault
He asked me how I said 'the devil
Rides on my back every mile
And he won’t take his claws out of my skin I’m sorry if I’m bleeding'

He bent down and wrote it in the sand
Made a wave and spelled it out in the ocean
Said we’ll be singing those angel hymns all together
When the army comes marching right down from the sky

'I can help' is what came from His mouth
I’d yell yes please but I’ve never spoken to the clouds
The weight it grows everyday ever hour second and eternity
He laughed out loud and asked me to explain
Forever, no-end, death, and being born again
If it’s the universe you want to see, come and take a walk with Me

I told myself son you better listen...

And we went into the garden and saw Adam die alone
Saw a baby in the water floating to a safer home
Saw the walls fall to the trumpeters then to Gilead we ran
By the time we made it to the top we were out of breath again
Then we stood on the moon, moved the craters to make faces
Stuck our tongues out at the earth then slowed it’s rotation
It was July in the winter before we moved it back to June
Passed the speed of sound, the speed of light and the speed of time too and he said,
'All of this is Mine, and yours too'

“Saints” by Poor Bishop Hooper

A Song On Everything We’ve Ever Wanted

I listened to this song yesterday on my headphones while prayer walking the bazaar. “No, random Central Asian man, no I’m not I’m not crying, I’m just a foreigner who’s got some, err, dust in his eyes… nothing to see here… (sniffle)”

I’ve bolded the lyrics below that I especially like.

When the day has run its course
You are the goodness
Oh, my sweetest Friend
You are the Avalanche
That falls upon us; in the end
You are my reward
Where all the years have failed us
Oh, my sweetest Friend
You are the House around us
You are the goodness; in the end

And everything I ever wanted
It is found in You
And everything I ever wanted
It is found in You

Of all the strong and able
You are the kindest
Oh, my sweetest Friend
You are the Avalanche
That falls upon us; in the end

And everything I ever wanted
It is found in You
And everything I ever wanted
It is found in You

My One, my Constant
My King, and Brother
My home, is ever
Where Your heart hovers
My One, my Constant
My King, and Brother
My home, is ever
Where Your heart hovers

When the day has run its course
You are the goodness
You are my reward
You are the goodness
When the day has run its course
You are the goodness
You are my reward
You are the goodness

When the day has run its course
You are the goodness
You are the goodness
When the day has run its course
You are the goodness
You are the goodness

-"The Goodness" by John Mark McMillan

A Song For Mourning Turned to Gladness

“Gone are the Days” by the Gray Havens and Julie Odnoralov

I’ve posted the original version of this song in the past, but I really enjoy this remix as well. The lyrics look back, post-death, to the sufferings of this life and the new reality of sorrow turned to gladness.

It is a fitting song for today, when I get to attend a very special wedding. My mom, widowed twenty eight years, is getting remarried. Her new husband is himself a widower, and one of his daughters one of my classmates and friends from high school in Melanesia. As such, it is a very different kind of wedding, where everyone’s thoughts are not only on the bride and groom, but also on the parents and spouses who have departed and gone to be with Jesus. There has been great loss, but there is also new joy.

He makes all things new. This song, and this wedding, provide me glimpses of how he will do this for all eternity.

A Song on The Loudest and Loveliest Sound

Walking alone through the woods
There's a roar that cannot be denied
Constant and loud
A sound that surrounds
It beckons you come and find 

But you drown it out
So sure that it's something you could do without
Your heart is still hard 
So you disregard the loudest and loveliest sound

Oh won't you come where the water is white
Let it shove you under
Let is steal your might 
And when you surface downstream 
For the first time
You will be free

You're keeping busy so you stay sane 
And were you to stop 
You would hear your real name
So stop your ignoring, come find the roaring
Come back to from where you came 

Oh won't you come where the water is white
Let it shove you under
Let is steal your might 
And when you surface downstream 
For the first time
You will be free

-“Waterfall” by Joel Ansett

A Song on High Priests

“Peace on Earth/A Conversation” by The Psallos

In truth these are two songs, transitioning at the 1:30 mark. Both are exploring the theme in Hebrews of Jesus being our great high priest. It’s a fun pairing of theology, typology, and some creative banter. Some select lines:

I see your point, but you gotta see mine,
These men were appointed by God's design.

Designed to die? 

No, designed to sympathize 
With the lives of the Israelites.

I think you might be losing your mind there, Thom!
Sympathy's not going to save.

I know, but listen to what I'm saying, Kelsie!
These guys are like shadows and types. 

Yeah, ineffectual types. 

Your guitar's an ineffectual type. 

But what we can agree on is this,
Jesus he is better, he is infinitely better, 
Blameless, spotless, sinless, righteous,
Able to fight this sinful-itis. 

Able to right these wrongs that plague us,
Able to sympathize with our weakness,
Cause he has taken on flesh to save us.