The Substance of Faith

The Substance of Faith

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The Soundtrack of our Faith

Several months ago I saw a commercial that mentioned “the soundtrack of my life.”  I had not heard of the idea, but once I started looking on the internet, I found books, videos, songs, and articles on websites from www.theguardian.com to www.forbes.com.  Much to my surprise I had once owned about half of the records on Boy George’s  chosen soundtrack. You can also find apps for mobile devises that help you  compile your own list. I began to think what music would make up my life’s playlist, but never made any specific decisions.

Then, on Sunday, February 9, our music ministry hosted Mary McDonald for, what we call Composer Day.  Listening to Mary on Saturday night I began to think about the “Soundtrack to my faith.”  What music meant the most to me?  What music represented different time periods and events in my life?  A quick late night call to Mary about the idea produced a replacement to the already-written sermon for the next day.  Here is a link to a video of our worship for that day.  The sermon comes very late in the recording.

Worship at First Baptist, Rome on February 9, 2014

“The Soundtrack of My Faith” has produced as many comments from members of our congregation as any sermon I can remember.  In the message I mentioned five hymns:

From childhood, “We Gather Together.”  The tune, St. George’s Windsor, is very recognizable and reminds most people of Thanksgiving as quickly as the smell of roast turkey.  To me the song demonstrates the importance of music in teaching the backdrop of faith to children.  What I sang, I believed.  Here is the reason our congregation has choir opportunities for children and youth.

From college days, “I Know Whom I Have Believed.” This hymn taught me I did not have to know the answers to all of the questions about God.  I trust my experience even when I can’t explain all of it.

“There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” is a hymn I can’t explain.  I don’t know why this hymn pulls on my heart as it does.

Amidst all the distractions of the world in which we live, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” reminds me that nothing else compares to knowing Jesus.  In Philippians 3:7-10 The Apostle Paul counts the best things in his life as sewage compared to knowing Christ.  We are all tempted to spend our affections, money, and energy on other things.  This hymn keeps me grounded in what is important.

Finally, “God of Grace and God of Glory.”  This hymn inspires me to service of God and humanity.  It’s the same tune as “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” which I also love.

Time constraints limited me to five songs.  I chose all hymns for Sunday morning because Mary McDonald could help me engage the congregation with those songs.  But I have more hymns that gird my faith, along with some songs that are not hymns.  Here are a few of the ones you may find more surprising:

Lost Dogs – “Breathe Deep” – a challenging song of grace.

Bob Dylan – “Every Grain of Sand” – speaks of the omnipotent love of God.  A secular “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

U2 – “When Love Comes to Town” – with BB King and Lucille, a song about conversion.  “I did what I did before Love came to town…”  Christian references abound in the music of U2.

Bruce Springsteen – “Land of Hope and Dreams” – I’ve thought about writing about Springsteen here on this site.  I think of him as the blue collar prophet of hope.  It is amazing how many of his songs are about the hope of love, the hope a better life, or the hope of grace.  “Land of Hope and Dreams” is not the gospel, but you can hear the echoes of the world’s longing for it in this song.

So those are some of the songs on my soundtrack of faith.  What’s on yours?

 

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