There are few moments in my life that I can remember what has been described often as ‘being moved’. Often those times, however brief, cause me to want to create something in order to remember that moment. I once watched a documentary about an elementary school that, in one year, collected millions of paperclips – representing each life that was lost in the Holocaust. I was astounded by how much space those paperclips took up, and the sheer magnitude of the evil that happened not that long ago in our world. I wrote a song after the film ended called With Ruined Tongues and Renewed Lungs. It wasn’t a song of despair, but a song of hope. Whenever I sing that song, which is not that often anymore, I smile. I don’t even know why I decided to write a song of hope after such a depressing documentary, but here is the line that makes me smile the most:
“Let’s bring heaven to earth with this laughter, join hands and sing with ruined tongues.
Let’s build bridges with our strongest voices, join hands and sing with renewed lungs.”
One night, I was reading a book by N.T. Wright called Simply Christian, and one paragraph at the end ‘moved me’ so much that I decided, again, to write a song based upon it. The paragraph said something about how all of history happens between two trees: the tree of the knowledge of death and life, and the tree of life. These trees are brackets to the story of humanity. And, right in the middle, stands another tree – the tree of death, the tree that Jesus hung upon and bore the weight of brokenness, opening the life of the ages (eternal life) to everyone as a result. The song I wrote that night – The Tree of Knowledge, Death, & Life – will be on the new album I am recording in a couple of weeks. Here’s the best part of that ‘movement’ within me:
“The Tree of Knowledge led all to death.
The Tree of Death leads all to life.
The Tree of Life will heal the world and set this world to right.”
This past Sunday, I was so ‘moved’, and what I created out of that was resurrecting this blog from the dearth of lethargy and apathy that plagued my ability to notice that God is actually showing up all around me.
And tonight, while practicing/tweaking songs with my friends, I was ‘moved’ again. This ‘movement’ happens to me when something just works musically, when I ‘feel’ some weight of glory (the tangible presence of God on earth) press down on my spirit. And I smile.
So, I write.
I have to write this down because I may forget: the whole earth is crammed with heaven, and I will not just sit and pluck blackberries.