Category Archives: Worship

40 Acres and Late Night Drives

I don’t remember the last time I took a late night drive just because.

Tonight I took one because I needed to get out of the house. It had been me and the baby in the living room for most of the day, and I needed something to get me off the couch.

So at the late hour of 6:30 (ha!) I loaded my fuzzy dino pj’s and knit sock monkey hat-wearing boy into the carseat and headed 30 minutes north to the Co-op. For some diapering supplies and a bit of grocery shopping.

I wanted to listen to worship music in the dark in the car. I almost never want to listen to Christian music, and for whatever reason, I tend to want to when I’m sad. I’m not really particularly sure why I was sad, but I was. And a late night drive and some worship music fit the bill.

At some point, a guitar riff started, and I thought it was Ryan Adams. Only that wouldn’t make sense because I’m PRETTY sure that Pandora wouldn’t play Ryan Adams on my “Glory Revealed” Christian worship station. And it turns out, it wasn’t Ryan Adams, it was another one of my favorites. It was Caedmon’s Call, “40 Acres.”

My eyes welled up. Because the song helped me finally realize what I was feeling and why I wanted to listen to worship music in the dark. The feeling of sadness mixed with loneliness that I was carrying in that moment was the same feeling I used to have when I’d listen to that album 12 years ago. Then I was a different girl: a college freshman in Indiana, filled with expectancy and pain and hope. Now I am a mom and wife in Washington, filled with expectancy and pain and hope. And it was the same set of lyrics:

There’s 40 acres and redemption to be found
Just along down the way
There is a place where no plow blade has turned the ground
And you will turn it over, ’cause out here hope remains
‘Cause out here hope remains…

The song was a gift tonight, reminding me that in the moments that I’m sad, that the same God is here as was there. Reminding me that my life is on a trajectory, and that each of these places is a part of the story. Reminding me that it’s all connected. Reminding me I’m not alone.

Running as Catharsis: Running as Worship

I hate running.  Absolutely hate it.  I have friends that run, and they tell me it’s awesome.  Friends and family who run marathons, half-marathons and 5ks and get addicted to it.  Sometimes my friends even write blogs about how awesome running is.  (i.e. Awesome Bonnie, fitness guru, who writes about winter running here.)  All of these romantic notions convince me I like the idea of running.

So one morning (er, like, yesterday) I get tricked into running.  Continue reading

Patty, Buddy, Pike Place: Maundy Thursday in Seattle

Last night, Husband and I went to see the ever-wonderful Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller at the Moore.  On Maundy Thursday, Patty’s haunting covers of gospel standards (from her most recent album Downtown Church) were quenching parts me I didn’t even know had dried up.  She wasn’t necessarily trying to facilitate worship, but for me, that’s what it was…a quality of music that transcends anything I can normally experience during worship, and no one was up there trying to manage how I should be feeling…I was just able to experience it.

Beforehand, we grabbed dinner at a hole-in-the-wall in the International District, played cribbage at Starbucks, and took some pics at the market at dusk.  I’ve been messing with the manual features on our Nikon D60 lately, because it seems sinful to own such a great camera and keep using it as a point and shoot.  No pics of the concert, but a few snapshots of the streets of Seattle on a quiet Thursday night.

Crazy Heart and Worship

Husband and I went to see Crazy Heart the other night.  I have to pause every time I go to utter the movie title, because I always, almost say Crazy Horse, which reminds me of this, which reminds me of traveling 2000 miles on I-90 with Brother in Summer 2004, which has nothing to do with going to see a movie with Husband.  This digressive train of thought has, thus, made it difficult to reflect on Crazy Heart, a movie starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m in between worship team practice and choir practice before Sunday morning service.  As I was getting ready for church, I was reflecting on worship, and somehow the reflection on worship led me to 2 nights ago watching Crazy Heart.

Crazy Heart is about a seemingly washed-up, alcohol-soaked musician/songwriter, who has arrived at 57 fueled by addiction, and without any touch points of  responsibility and intimacy.  His longing for intimacy and his fear of himself leads him to rehab, where he allegedly shapes up and cleans up.

What I’m thinking about this morning is how Bad Blake makes sense of his world through song.  Songwriting is the place where he has a raw and honest voice, one that can cut through the whiskey and emptiness to find significance.

As I prepare to lead worship this morning, I pray that my words would not be empty.  Probably three weeks out of four in any given month, my mind is somewhere else during the bulk of the weekly church service.  My mouth opens and closes singing words on the screen without ever really filtering them through my consciousness.

This morning, the image I’m struck with is Bad Blake, sitting on his porch strumming his guitar after Buddy and Jean leave.  His words are an offering, for him, probably not to God, but to the world, to music, to Jean, or to life.  Regardless, the painful fullness of it feels like a kind of worship…one I desire to emulate, by searching for that place in my own life and drawing it out as an offering.  It’s from that place, the bottom, the place of despair, the deepest recesses of the soul, from which I long to sing this morning.