lenten journal: this is the sound of one voice

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I think I am beginning to see that music is one of the things that is going to get me through these days. I sang the song I posted last night–Traveling Mercies–in church today as our benediction. As I sat down to write, I kept thinking about songs that call us together, that remind us we are always US, and that call us to work fiercely to stay connected.

Tonight’s playlist starts with “One Voice” by the Wailin’ Jennys. Seeing them live–when we get to do that sort of thing again–is on my bucket list. For now, watch and listen.

this is the sound of all of us
singing with love and the will to trust
leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
this is the sound of all of us
this is the sound of all of us

this is the sound of one voice
one people, one voice
a song for every one of us
this is the sound of one voice
this is the sound of one voice

Since his first album, Pierce Pettis has included a Mark Heard cover on every recording. Pierce is an amazing songwriter in his own right, but he has included Mark’s song as a way to honor his friend who died too young and to help Mark’s family earn royalties. “Look Over Your Shoulder” sounds like it was written last week.

look into your sad eyes and tell me what you see
what is left of the child who is hiding behind them?
who longs to be laughing in places of light
who knows that the morning will follow the night?
look into your sad eyes and tell me what you see

if you must be afraid be afraid of yourself
for being afraid of the fear you have felt
you will weather well in a climate of love

Billy Bragg is a British folksinger who writes and sings with rawness and compassion. This video of “The Milkman of Human Kindness” is from early in his career. The song still rings true.

if you’re lonely, I will call
if you’re poorly, I will send poetry
I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

if you’re sleeping, I will wait
if your bed is wet, I will dry your tears
I love you
I am the milkman of human kindness
I will leave an extra pint

John Hiatt’s call to action in “Through Your Hands” says,

so whatever your hands find to do
you must do with all your heart
there are thoughts enough
to blow men’s minds and tear great worlds apart
there’s a healing touch will find you
on that broad highway somewhere
to lift you high as music flying
through the angel’s hair

don’t ask what you are not doing
because your voice cannot command
in time we will move mountains
and it will come through your hands

We will determine who we are and who we become as a result of living through these days.

Though living through this pandemic has not carried the shock of September 11, it feels like it might have a similar culture-altering effect; we will not just go back to the way things were, which means learning to live beyond our fear is larger than worrying about getting the virus. Holly Near offers what I think might be a good candidate for a new national anthem>

I am open and I am willing
to be hopeless would seem so strange
it dishonors those who go before us
so lift me up to the light of change

there is hurting in my family
there is sorrow in my town
there is panic in the nation
there is wailing the whole world round

may the children see more clearly
may the elders be more wise
may the winds of change caress us
even though it burns our eyes

give me a mighty oak to hold my confusion
give me a desert to hold my fears
give me a sunset to hold my wonder
give me an ocean to hold my tears

I am open and I am willing
to be hopeless would seem so strange
it dishonors those who go before us
so lift me up to the light of change

Over the course of this blog I am sure David Wilcox’s “Show the Way” has shown up ten or twelve times. I needed to hear it again tonight.

look–if someone wrote a play
to just to glorify what’s stronger than hate
would they not arrange the stage
to look as if the hero came too late?
he’s almost in defeat
it’s looking like the evil side will when
so on the edge of every seat
from the moment that the whole thing begins

it is love who mixed the mortar
and it’s love who stacked these stones
and it’s love who made the stage here
although it looks like we’re alone
in this scene, set in shadows,
like the night is here to stay
there is evil cast around us
but it’s love that wrote the play
for in this darkness love can show the way

Keep singing. And listening.

Peace,
Milton

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2 COMMENTS

  1. You sometimes wish you had gotten your PhD in NewTestament . . .
    You are a fully ,tenured Distinguished Professor of Passion, with thousands of us still learning sitting around the fires in your heart!

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