Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arise and be all that you dreamed...

Call me a nerd, but I'm a sucker for creative stories that go with music.  One might deduce from that statement that I am a fan of Broadway musicals or Bollywood films.  If that be the assumption, one would be CORRECT! However, that is not what I stopped working on my paper that's due tomorrow to blog about.  It's about a particular song on the new Flyleaf album, "Momento Mori".

For this album, the songs can stand well on their own, but they make much more sense if one reads the entire album booklet.  This is because there's a story of a "commander" of the "passerby army" that shares journal entries with "his dear ones" from the war with the "dread army" (you may be able to infer what some of the imagery and parallelism is, if not, that's too bad because i'm not going to include it in this blogpost)(okay, basically people who are followers of Christ are in the passerby army and those who are not are in the dread army...and I think the commander is someone like Paul while the King is Jesus...there are more characters, but I won't get into that)  Each "journal entry" by the "commander" is a song on the album.

Not gunna lie, some of Flyleaf's songs are creeps...too creeps for me to enjoy. BUT I do enjoy their music (not just for its evanescence/paramore sound) because everything relates back to God/a relationship with Him, sometimes not being afraid to mention darkness.  In other words, sometimes it requires a certain mood to get into them. Not all songs are "emo", like "All Around Me"...but one can find quite a few. Also, one must like headbanging a bit ;)

ALL THIS BACK-STORY, to share with you what is written in the booklet for this song called "Arise":

"This will be the last letter that I will be able to write to my sons and daughters before we enter by far the fiercest battle this conflict has seen.

Dearest children, my favorite ones,

You are mature now and you can handle hearing about the things I'm going to tell you, so brace yourself and be strong.  Many in the passerby army have been injured, killed, or captured, but none of us have surrendered to the dread army! I believe that we have already won as it has been prophesied, so don't lose heart! I know that everything good around you seems to be lost, but please stand firm! We have all committed to give our lives to bring peace, faith, hope, freedom, and above all love to the world because we believe in love, above all things! Don't give up on our world! It has enough hope in it to die for! If I do die here, it is so others will live.  Remember, a seed can't become a seed-bearing, life-giving tree unless it first dies and is planted in the ground.  Always know that whether I live or die, you have been called to fulfill your purpose and further our mission! I've watched you grow together as a family and you are more selfless now than you have ever been.  Because of this, your heart is now right for reflecting glory.  Momento Mori, my favorite ones, because your time on this earth is brief.  Arise and be all that you dream.  Encourage each other and remember to sing over each other, over your family, and over yourself, "Arise and be all that you dream!"

--- Love Eternally, The Commander."

That message coupled with the song's lyrics AND instrumentation causes me to move into a place where I feel like I have hope and purpose.  I know that Paul writes to the church in this way.  I'm by no means saying this song is a substitute for God's word, but rather it is a reminder and another way to connect to God in times when it is hard to crack open the Bible.
Anyways, this song also reminds me about Jesus' victory over death.  Jesus' resurrection is one of the hardest things for me to fully wrap my head around... not just because of the action, but its implications for my life and for this world.  I think this song reminds me of the resurrection because it represents where the world is now.  Because Jesus rose from the dead, evil has been conquered, yet it still exists in this world AND/BUT because of the resurrection we have hope knowing that Jesus has already defeated evil.  That sounds confusing... it is. It's also strange that that's what I think about because I think the "commander" is pointing to Jesus' death on the cross and how we also share in His death.  In fact, the album's title is "remember, you must die."

I can see I need to get better at putting my thoughts in a blog-form.  I do know one thing though... I would be very sad if you read this whole thing, but did not listen to the song in its entirety, so I will post a link to it again: ARISE AND BE ALL THAT YOU DREAMED ... I'd also be sad if you don't listen to the other song below ;)

( on a side-note, if you like what you hear, my other favorite song from this album is "Again"-- "her heart breaks with every injustice, she prays like everything depends on God, but then lives like it all depends on her. even though she's strong,there are times when she tries to carry all the weight of the world on her own and she ends up crushed, brought to her knees. as she cries out for relief, she will finally let go, surrendering all the burden by believing that everything has a purpose and will work out for good...its only here that she finds air to breath again" )

So there you go, I have a broad taste in music...but today you get a glimpse into one genre I enjoy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
       so my soul pants for you, O God.

 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
       When can I go and meet with God?
 My tears have been my food
       day and night,
       while men say to me all day long,
       "Where is your God?"
 These things I remember
       as I pour out my soul:
       how I used to go with the multitude,
       leading the procession to the house of God,
       with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
       among the festive throng.
 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God.
       My soul is downcast within me;
       therefore I will remember you
       from the land of the Jordan,
       the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
 Deep calls to deep
       in the roar of your waterfalls;
       all your waves and breakers
       have swept over me.
 By day the LORD directs his love,
       at night his song is with me—
       a prayer to the God of my life.
 I say to God my Rock,
       "Why have you forgotten me?
       Why must I go about mourning,
       oppressed by the enemy?"
 My bones suffer mortal agony
       as my foes taunt me,
       saying to me all day long,
       "Where is your God?"
 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God.