Thursday, February 12, 2015

Song Selection Series: How Deep The Father's Love

In contemplating the things that I spend time doing or enjoying, I could not escape the world of music. When I was a teen (in the late 90s) I would seal myself off from the world, in my room, and listen to my small stereo. Back then the radio only played secular tunes and very rarely played something by Amy Grant that was sorta Christian. If I wasn't listening to the radio I was playing Christian CDs by Cindy Morgan or Jaci Velasquez. I had most every album by them. Music moved my heart, for the good and bad.

When I was in college, I did assignments while listening to Coldplay or other heavy stuff. It was like a quick fix for my emotionally deep self. I wrote articles, poetry, and even blog posts (the blog world was just evolving) to the sounds of what the world had to offer. Deep down I knew that all of it was moving me in ways that took me on a downward spiral. I can't speak for anyone else when I say that spiritually the music of the "secular" domain made things rather depressing.

This isn't to say that there aren't songs in regular pop culture that aren't uplifting, I just was not drawn to them. So in an attempt to free my soul from this downward spike, I made myself listen to 90% Christian music. I became intentional about it, but at the same time would not block my ears if the radio was on in a setting I could not control. I had to make myself make choices in the midst of real life, instead of avoiding.

I was intentional about music when I would take walks, run on the treadmill at the gym, or was just writing a little blurb about my thoughts. Let me tell you, running to Christian music is not easy. Sometimes it makes you too relaxed or the beat just isn't peppy enough. So, I became intentional about my feelings towards music. I would listen to slow beat stuff while running 5 miles an hour on a treadmill in a stuffy, crowded gym. I found the rhythm and found that my heart would steady itself, surprisingly. Like a peaceful jaunt in the park. If I closed my eyes for just a moment I would be taken away from the 10 TV screens and smelly odors. It actually made me run longer.

At this point in my life I still find myself drawn to secular folk or instrumental tunes. Coldplay still resonates in my earbuds from time to time. But what really gets me at the end of the day is a good hymn. Growing up, hymns were only sung in church to weird rhythms and with small amounts of feeling. Today, there are so many artists who remix hymns and take you to when they were written. You feel the intent, struggle, survival, and praise. You feel the closeness the original poet had with God. Gives me the chills.

I am sharing a link here to a hymn called "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" that was rearranged by King's Kaleidoscope and retitled "How Deep". I could sense God's anguish in being separated from Christ as He died for us. I could sense all that the Godhead gave up just so that we could have eternal life, undeserved. Here are the words:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

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