I’m working with some friends on a recording project, working with songs I’ve written for my church. The songs were written in a context for a specific context, but I’m also pretty confident that these are songs that any church anywhere would like to and should be singing in community. I’ve actually led worship with a few of these in other places and they have been well-received. The funny thing is, the market for the music doesn’t resemble us at all. But that’s beside the point.
My friend, Jamin, is playing bass with us for the project (which I have called Godspeed, St. Mark), and until tonight he had only heard the songs once. I won’t bother telling too much of Jamin’s story, but suffice it to say, after a lifetime of manufacturing moments and learning how to manipulate emotions through music in church, he has walked away from the whole thing. Which I can appreciate, and which I totally understand. These songs, however, were written in community for community, and Jamin is part of my community. He’s super talented and he gets what’s going on in my head, and has a creative mind that I think is unmatched when it comes to music.
Tonight, in Jamin’s basement, we (myself, Jamin, and Isaac (lead guitar)) ran through the songs for the first time. If you are an artist of any kind, you can understand how unnerving it is to present your art to someone with a critical eye. We scrapped some things, rearranged some things, and, in a moment of transcendence, even decided one song just isn’t that great (so we won’t be recording it…in its original form). That moment came at the end, when Jamin put some legit input into the project and the feeling it should convey. I can’t explain it except to say that we landed on something that is truly perfect, beautiful, and worthy of the story we are telling through song.
Though he has left the church and its trappings behind, what happened tonight, for me, was proof of something greater that I believe is going on in our world. God is everywhere, and at all times, he is mysteriously and wonderfully interacting with us, even when we don’t want him to and when we don’t realize it.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…”
This is the story we are trying to tell. In fact, this is the story we are all telling with our lives. The four of us, an unlikely group to be putting together music in the form of what can only be termed ‘a worship album’, are still feeling our way towards God. What I realized yet again tonight is that he is actually not that far from us. It doesn’t matter that, for the majority of Godspeed, St. Mark, we wouldn’t have anything to do with the church if it weren’t for music. The story is still being told, and we get to participate in its telling. And, hopefully, we are playing a role in God’s plan to set everything to right.