Her beauty still exists

July 25, 2008

church / culture / music

If you were interested in this sort of thing, you could boil a person like me down to a list of descriptive terms. I am an evangelical, Christian, American, Caucasian male. Evangelical. Christian. American. Caucasian. Male. If you identify with any of those terms, do you ever think about the baggage attached to them? The assumptions that people make when they hear or see that you identify with these terms?

I spend a lot of time trying to make it clear that I understand the baggage attached to these terms, and that I reject it. With regard to all of these terms, it is an extremely psychologically and spiritually demanding struggle for me to show who I am, and all too often that struggle manifests itself as a fight against what I am not.

For many people who are involved with the emerging church, in all of its forms, words like “Christian” and “evangelical” are words to be used very carefully. For myself, most of the time I like the phrase “follower of Jesus.” It hopefully carries the connotation that I want something to be different, based on the fact that I use that phrase.

For people like this, it is very important that they are able, from time to time, to commune with like-minded people. I believe this is one of the reasons for the success of Emergent Village and the events that it holds, from regional events to national events. For us, one of the greatest places for this kind of community is Cornerstone, and that is among the reasons that we make such an effort to attend every year.

Like any place with roughly 20,000 yearly attendees, Cornerstone has a variety of viewpoints and worldviews represented, and this is a great thing. But the overall spirit of Cornerstone has always been one of peace, love, and grace offered by people who have been given much. This year was Cornerstone’s 25th anniversary, and one night all of the stages except the Main Stage were shut down, to encourage everyone to worship together. The event was called God of Justice: Worship with Dirty Hands, and included artists like The Glorious Unseen, the Michael Gungor Band, The Lost Dogs, and several others.

I had never heard the Michael Gungor Band before, but one of the songs they played was called “Song For My Family.” The lyrics are as follows (thanks to this blog for posting them):

Song For My Family

This is a song for my family
outside the walls of sunday
morning from some within.
This is a song to confess our sins,
lay it all out, and try to begin
again. To hope again.

Please forgive our ignorance
in looking down on you
Please forgive our selfishness
for hiding in our pews while the
world bleeds
while the world needs us
To be what we should be

This is a song for my family who
just can’t believe in the Jesus that
you’ve seen on Sunday morning.

This is a song for the
cynical saints.
The burned out and hopeless.
The ones that we’ve cast away.
I feel your pain.

Please forgive the wastefulness
of all that we could be
But don’t forget, there’s more than
Her beauty still exists.
His bride is still alive.
His bride is still alive.

This is a song for my family inside
the walls of Sunday morning.
Be what you should be.

Her beauty still exists. His bride is still alive. These simple words impacted me in a way that worship music rarely does at this point in my life. There are some wonderful exceptions, but they are not the rule. These words reminded me that I am a part of something. Part of a beautiful something that has endured for almost 2,000 years, through everything that Western culture and Christendom and human nature have done to it.

May his bride be what she should be.