I just realized something: These worship reviews are functionally digital mullets. Business in the front, party in the back?
The setlist from this weekend:
- Unstoppable God by Elevation Worship
- Dear Refuge by Trinity Grace Church
- Open Up Our Eyes by Elevation Worship
- Rejoice by Dustin Kensrue
- God is Able by Hillsong
Here’s a Spotify playlist but do me a favor, please, please, please buy these tunes (if you haven’t already) to support the artists who have worked so hard crafting, recording, and producing songs suitable for the Church to sing.
I promise the work of a worship pastor is very spiritual and I spend most of my days praying, reading the Bible, communion with angels, my mind and heart in the Heavenlies, getting direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. But, last week when I was planning the service I most definitely Googled “Unfailing Love Bible.”
I found this picture and a bunch of Psalms with that particularly frutiful Google search.
God is good.
As I read through the Psalms I noticed a recurring theme with each instance of “unfailing love.” All the Psalms I was finding were wacky depressing. Each Psalm had a pattern of love being the climax or the culmination, but very rarely the motivator. The motion wasn’t from glory to glory, joy to joy, but rather crushing sorrow to unfailing love.
Psalm 13 landed particularly hard of my heart, and I don’t like to use the platform I’m responsible for to minister to myself, but I decided to give myself some grace and plan a personal setlist this weekend.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
As a person prone to naval-gazing introspection, and the occasional nostalgia induced melancholy I read this and was like: “Oh yeah! How long do I have to wrestly with my thoughts?!” It’s hard to admit this, since in some regard my spiritual life plays out on the stage – more on that in a future post, but I’ve been feeling dried up for awhile. Like God is far away, and if not distant, hiding.
We introduced a few weeks back a hymn by Anne Steele, “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul” (Music by Kevin Twitt, additional chorus/arrangement by Zac Williams), that has been my prayer in this dry season: “Dear Refuge of my weary soul/ On thee when sorrows rise/ On thee when troubles roll/ My fainting hope relies/ To Thee I tell each rising grief,/ For Thou alone canst heal/ Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,/ For every pain I feel”
Though my emotional reality has been dour “Thy Word has been a sweet relief.” Opening up the Scriptures to find God’s man David begging God the same as me has been a comfort. To be instructed in prayer: How long? How long? In God’s timing, but while wating beg and claw towards mercy and relief.
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
I’m always strucked by the tenancity of David. It is preposterous of David to demand, “Look on me and answer, Lord my God.” But, the demand is awesome – “Give light to my eyes.” Look on me and give me light. David, me, you, we’re unable to look up of our own volition. We need God to remember us, to light up our eyes that we may see His love endures forever.
As we sang in “Open Up Our Eyes” we need God to open up our eyes and surround us with His light so that we can understand that His love never fails. Otherwise, without the hand of Divine Providence peeling back our eyelids it’ll seem that our enemies of self, emotion, and circumstance will surely defeat us and rejoice in doing so.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
I’m not saying that when all around looks gray that the antidote is to try harder, never that, never try harder but always persevere. When the enemy is prevailing, do not retreat but charge in. Trust in his unfailing love, rejoice in his salvation.
“Rejoice! Again I say rejoice!” Paul instructs the church in Phillipi. It’s not a slight “Cheer up, everything is gonna be a-ok” or “You should feel bad for feeling bad, so feel better”… It’s rejoice because “The Lord is near.” Rejoice in the good, rejoice in the bad, rejoice always because God has not forgotten you, he’s not hiding, he is near.
Though it may seem foolish, or impossible, when the enemy is pressing in on all sides trust in His unfailing love, rejoice in his salvation, sing the Lord’s praise, because “There is blessing in the battle,/ so take heart and stand amazed.”