We’ve been on quite a ride, haven’t we? A couple of weeks ago I was checking plane fares for two upcoming trips…a wedding in Arizona and a board meeting in Ohio. I was helping organize a part of our neighborhood service project, looking forward to the start of baseball season, and watching the weeds grow in my backyard because it was too soggy to mow.
Just a normal spring here on the Grand Prairie. And then everything changed. Like. Everything.
People have used words like surreal. Strange. Weird. Scary. A nightmare. But no matter what you call it, it’s our new reality. A least for a while. Maybe a long while.
I said tonight in my “North Point State of the Fam” address, I am an optimist. And not just any old optimist. I’m a glass half full, rose-colored glasses, full on, card-carryiong Pollyanna kind of optimist.
Not that there won’t be any problems or heartache or confusion or pain. No. I believe there’s a lot of that. More than enough to go around. And then some. I just happen to believe there’s way more than enough of the presence of God to overcome all the mess we find ourselves in. And then some.
When you’ve been on earth as long as I have, you get to reminisce. It’s my prerogative. I’ve been doing that some this evening.
In the 80’s, I was definitely a youth pastor dad who was way into rock and roll. Wanda would regularly call me out for the music I would let my little rocker protege’s listen to on the car stereo or the yellow walkman. Was I worried? Pfft.
In spite of my love of loud and my general disdain of christian bands that sounded more like cheap knock offs, there was a song that changed everything for me. A christian song unlike any I had ever heard before.
And no, it wasn’t the music. And it wasn’t rock. It was actually an acapella hymn by a little known and barely remembered band that made it’s rounds in 1982. And it was the lyrics.
I had never heard lyrics so deep, so painful, so hopeful, so theologically rich. I don’t think I ever really played the song for anyone else. I just listened to it. All the time. I could never let go of it. It framed my heart for ministry and my love of theology.
More than that, this song called me to live for something greater.
And though I’ve never forgotten the song, I had lost sight of it…until it popped into my head as an unexpected gift from God this week. It’s an anthem of truth and hope for these times we are facing.
So put on your wayback hat and let yourself appreciate a style of music we know nothing about. But more than that, let the lyrics give sight to your blind eyes.
Maybe they will do for you a little of what they do for me.
Be Ye Glad
In these days of confused situations.
In these nights of a restless remorse,
When the heart and the soul of the nation,
lay wounded and cold as a corpse.
From the grave of the innocent Adam,
comes a song bringing joy to the sad.
Oh your cry has been heard and the ransom,
has been paid up in full, Be Ye Glad.
Oh, Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad,
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full by the grace of the Lord,
Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad, Be Ye Glad.
From the dungeon a rumor is stirring.
You have heard it again and again.
But this time the cell keys are turning,
and outside there are faces of friends.
And though your body lay weary from wasting,
and your eyes show the sorrow they’ve had.
Oh the love that your heart is now tasting
has opened the gate, Be Ye Glad.
So be like lights on the rim of the water,
giving hope in a storm sea of night.
Be a refuge amidst the slaughter,
for these fugitives in their flight.
For you are timeless and part of a puzzle.
You are winsome and young as a lad.
And there is no disease or no struggle,
that can pull you from God, Be Ye Glad.