The church I attend has started doing a new series on Sunday nights about songs. We've been discussing the history, theology, culture, and meaning behind some of the songs we use in worship. I've written several times already about song lyrics that are meaningful to me, so I think I have well established myself as a person who strongly identifies with music. Naturally, I was totally on board with this series. Yes, please.
I love the thought of asking ourselves about the songs we sing. What are we professing in this song? Do we actually believe that, or are we just singing it because those are the words? Does singing it help make the words truer in our lives? Who is this song meant to be for? What does singing it say about us?
In the midst of this series I've found a new favorite song.
The song is So Will I by Hillsong UNITED. I encourage you to go check it out. You can do so here. <<<
The song is pretty, but it's certainly not the most beautiful song I've ever heard. It's instrumental, and I have a preference for acappella music. Annoyingly, not all of it is perfectly within my vocal range, so I have to change octaves while singing it at the top of my lungs in my car. So why do I love this song so much? Why has it grabbed me and not let go?
It's because of what the song professes. Here are some of the lyrics:
If it all reveals Your nature, so will I
If creation still obeys You, so will I
If the stars were made to worship, so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence, so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness, so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high, so will I
If the wind goes where You send it, so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence, so will I
The song is about creation and how every part of that creation is a reflection of the God who made it. The song takes a bold and unwavering stance about the worthiness of God. It calls me to something higher and challenges me to say things that aren't yet true. I want to exist inside this song.
It also touches on a passage of scripture I've always loved. During what's known as "The Triumphal Entry" Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem. As he approaches a town he is met with shouts of loud praise. People spread their cloaks on the road, creating a sort of red carpet for Jesus. The multitude starts shouting, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" and, "Glory in the highest!" This was a group of people completely caught up in worship. As is the Pharisaical way, a Pharisee shows up and tries to take control of the situation. He tells Jesus to ask his admirers to chill out. Jesus' answer is so wonderful.
"If these people were silent, the very rocks would cry out."
That gives me chills.
It's as if Jesus is saying, "You're not about all-consuming, overwhelming worship? Get used to it." Bye, Pharisee.
God is so worthy of worship that it is impossible that he not be worshipped. If for some reason I don't want to, that's fine, there's a rock somewhere that won't be able to contain itself because of the greatness of God. If I don't bow before God, the mountains, the proudest looking structure of all creation, will do it for me. A mountain is somehow so aware of the glory of God that it knows it must bow. And the stars. The stars! Humans are in awe of the stars. We gaze at them. We are baffled by their majesty and their awesome power. The stars are in awe of God. They gaze at His majesty.
If these people were silent, the very rocks would cry out.
I think it's curious that Jesus says that line only days before the crucifixion. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die. Less than a week from this moment Jesus will be in the midst of a different crowd. That new crowd will be crying "CRUCIFY" instead of "GLORY TO GOD". Part of his creation, the most beloved part, is about to turn on him. Here's where it gets interesting.
When "it is finished" there is an earthquake and the sun is blocked out. The rocks that form the foundation of the whole earth shake and rumble when Jesus dies. Our life-supporting star blackens in mourning and reverence at the death of The Creator. The people of earth decided to be silent in the midst of God's glory, but the earth itself could not.
Rocks cried out in silence. Stars bowed in worship.
That takes me back to the song I love so much. As much as the song mentions all of the different elements of creation, the subject of the song is actually me. So will I. That's the line used most often.
This is where I ask myself all of the other questions listed in the beginning. Do I mean that, or am I just singing it? Does singing it convict me to make the words true? Am I really a rock crying out in silence, or am I the oblivious onlooker standing at the foot of the cross?
Will I really go where God sends me - wherever God sends me - like I'm a wind? If that's true, I might have to make some major life changes. Do I want to make major life changes? Am I secretly hoping God leaves his directions to the wind and doesn't ask me for anything or send me anywhere?
Will I really reveal His nature? What would have to change about me for that statement to be true? Whose nature am I revealing now? Where am I making God take a backseat to my own desires? Are rocks and oceans doing a better job of revealing God's nature than I am, even though I'm the one who was created in His image?
For me this song is both an invitation and an RSVP. It professes that all around me creation is involved in this never ending worship-fest that I've thus far neglected to show up to. Hey, you. Everyone else - everyTHING else - is already at this party. Care to join us? This is what I meant when I said I want to exist inside this song. I want to live at that party. I want to be part of what all creation is already doing. This song says yes to the invite. There's worship going on somewhere and I'm joining it.
Today is Good Friday. Today is the day two thousand years ago that humanity chose silence and the rest of creation chose worship. Two days from now many of us will meet with our friends and family for Easter Sunday. Resurrection Day: the day a rock stepped aside so the embodiment of God's goodness could be revealed. Unburied. It's time we step aside too, and reveal the God in us. I challenge myself, and any who wish to join me, to emulate creation this Resurrection Day. Reveal. Obey. Worship. Bow. Roar. Go. Cry out in silence.
If you left the grave behind you, so will I.