Saturday, March 31, 2012

4 Song EP: Psalm 46

This is post #2 of 4 on the 4 songs I wrote for school...

This is one of my favorites. The songs works and it recorded well. I have been toying with this song for a long time, so some of you may have heard it before - sorry.

Lots more banjo, no drums, lots of electric guitar and one of the best guitar solos I have ever come up with (which is not saying much if you know me :)).



One of my learning objectives was that I wanted to seek traditions outside of my own. The Psalms have not been a major part of my worshiping tradition in my home church. More than that, before coming to SPU I was unsure about the Psalms. I wrestled with David and Solomon and their roles in scripture. I mostly avoided them, not finding much value in them at all. I think my issue was that David and Solomon both started great but devolved into a mess of a family that ultimately cast the people of God into the stone ages and persecution and exile. I think I was hurt because the church taught about these folks as heroes. When I read the stories for myself, the biblical portrayal did not match the lionized version I had heard from the church. I blamed Solomon for the church's terrible portrayal and teaching. I got issues but I am working through them. Since coming to SPU, I have been inundated with the Psalms. I have gained from my classes a great theology regarding the Psalms and have grown to love them. This song represents my growth. I was first introduced to the Psalms as a major part of worship in our first class intensive at Camp Casey. In taking Dr. Wall’s class and being introduced to reading scripture theologically and christologically, I learned to re-interpret the Psalms through the lens of Christ. My new lens coupled with the reading of the Psalms to begin each class in Theology and Scripture has encouraged me to explore what the church has known for millennia.
            This Psalm is subtly Christological in its ecclesial focus. Psalm 46 is originally about God and an ancient city. The city and its inhabitants are secured by the Lord’s protection in the face of all danger. So secure that they can be still even though the earth melts. I have interpreted the city and people from the Psalm to be the people of God, the church, singing to God, coming in to worship, being still before the Lord, and relying on God to serve as our defender and protector in a hostile world.
            On a more personal level for this song, to me, conveys the biblical response to violence. It is sort of my way of affirming the passage, “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay’ says the Lord.” We do not have to fear or fight or struggle, the Lord promises to do so on our behalf. I do believe Jesus calls his followers to radical peace and an even more radical trust that the Lord will vindicate. The actual Psalm has more expressions of this element than I incorporated into the song. I didn’t want the song to be too politically charged in exchange for a more of a worshipful tone.
             To reflect the stillness highlighted in the chorus refrain, the song, overall, is simple and lacks percussion. The bridge builds tumultuously in that the electric guitar enters and crescendos to mimic the tension in the words. The earth is melting, the sea is surging, the mountains are falling into the ocean. The resolve of the music is to bear witness to our not being afraid because in knowing the Lord and we know the One who keeps us.

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