lenten journal: words and music


As we finish up our first week of Lent, it seems a good time to offer some songs for the road. I’ve chosen songs that have come alive to me for one reason or another over the past months. Gillian Welch’s “One Little Song” seems a good place to start.

gotta be a song left to sing
’cause everybody can’t have thought of everything
one little song that ain’t been sung
one little rag that ain’t been wrung out completely yet
’til there’s nothing left

Pierce Pettis released a new record this winter, which is reason enough to have hope in the world. His song “Don’t know where I Am” is an honest search in these days.

I thought that I was homeward bound
but I don’t know where I am
now I’m in so deep that I might drown
and I don’t know where I am

Kathy Mattea is another who released a record after many years. She went through a period where she could not sing and had to relearn how to use her voice. Her song “Tell Me What You Ache For” puts melody to an adaptation of a poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

tell me what you ache for
tell me what you wait for
tell me what you long for
what you’re holding on for
tell me what you’re dreaming
what would give your life real meaning
you’ve been afraid to pray for
tell me what you ache for

Patty Griffin’s silence was because she was battling breast cancer. Her new record is another statement of tenacious hope. Here is “Luminous Places.”

love flows out of these luminous places
love lies down in the deep of the sea
falls out of the sky in millions of pieces on me

John Prine’s latest record is not brand new, but it keeps following me, so he will bring our closing hymn. He has now survived cancer twice and he still sings with an abandon that makes my heart smile. Here is “Boundless Love.”

if by chance I should find myself at risk
a-falling from this jagged cliff
I look below, and I look above
I’m surrounded by your boundless love

surround me with your boundless love
confound me with your boundless love
I was drowning in the sea, lost as I could be
when you found me with your boundless love
you dumbfound me with your boundless love
you surround me with your boundless love

May you feel surrounded by a boundless love.



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