Sunday, May 25, 2008

Over the Rhine

Over the Rhine is a section of downtown Cincinnati that is notorious for extreme poverty, crime, and drug dealing. In fact, the movie "Traffic" filmed it's U.S. inner-city drug dealing scenes in Over the Rhine. And there is another reason the name Over the Rhine is somewhat noteworthy. There is a great band from Cincinnati named Over the Rhine, lead by Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist. They are so good that they spend a good chunk of their time traveling to do live shows for their fans around the world. I happen to be a fan as well and have seen them a few times when they do hometown shows. Which leads me to the inspiration for this post. On Thursday, Linford walked into the coffee shop a couple of blocks from my place where I happened to be having lunch. They are in town for a show and rehearsed at the gorgeous old church across the street from my building. As I walked home a little while later I heard music and Karin's voice coming from the open windows of the church. It was a beautiful day and I walked slowly past the church to linger in the afternoon serenade. And got lost in thought about some of my favorite OTR lyrics.

Linford and Karin write great songs together. When I heard Karin sing "Drunkard's Prayer" live at an intimate concert, it sent chills up my spine and I declared I wanted it played at my wedding or at an anniversary celebration. Now I just have to find a husband who agrees with that song choice! ;-) Here are the lyrics:

You're my water
You're my wine
You're my whiskey
From time to time

You're the hunger
On my bones
All the nights
I sleep alone

Sweet intoxication
When your words
Wash over me

Whether or not
Your lips move
You speak to me

Like an ocean
Without waves
You're the movement
That I crave

And in that motion
I long to drown
And be lost not to be found
You're my water
You're my wine
You're my whiskey
From time to time

And then there's the lyrics to "The World Can Wait" which affirms the intimacy I feel with God and fills me with longing to bask in His presence, to be pulled even closer to His side. Here's a taste:

but tomorrow I can't imagine
how am I supposed to know
what's yet to go down ?
is there only one religion
the kind that whispers
when nobody comes around ?

the world can wait
the world can wait
I wanna drink the water from your well
I wanna tell you things i'll never tell
the world can wait
the world can wait
i'm wide awake
and the world can wait

I want to feel and then some
I have five senses
I need thousands more at least
every day a page of paper
every night a photograph
a moveable feast

so fade to black and white now
roll the movie of my life
inside of my head
'cause like all true believers
I am truly skeptical
of all that I have said

Those last few lines speak to me about those moments of doubt, when I replay scenes from my life trying to discern the truth or grace in me. And then the chorus kicks in reminding me the world can wait while I drink from His well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bathed in Prayer

Over the past several months I have become close friends with two wonderful families. I'll refer to them as the "S Family" and the "H Family" for the purpose of this post. The H Family has had a tragic year full of struggle and heartache on many levels. So a few weeks ago Mrs. S suggested praying over the H Family's house while they were away. I was having a busier week than usual and couldn't be there physically, so I told Mrs. S I'd write one of my signature prayers to hang in the H home. As I sat down to compose I prayed for inspiration and God gave me this:

Bathed in Prayer

We call Your Name, Blessed Be
With our rawest emotions
Wrapped in tears, wrapped in anguish
Guarded with logic, defended with pride
We offer our prayers

We call Your Name, Blessed Be
With Your sacred devotion
Strip us bare, embrace our search
See where we are, drenched with pain
You hear our prayers

We know Your Name, Blessed Be
With our fumbling faith
Full of despair, we wait, "Why?"
Steeped in blessing, infused with hope
We bathe in prayers

We know Your Name, Blessed Be
With Your water of life
Wash us pure, cleanse our church
Splashed with blood, redeemed by Christ
You lived our prayers

Splish Splash, I am takin' a bath!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lyrics Du Jour - Whole of the Moon

In honor of the full moon tonight I'm sharing the lyrics to one of my ALL TIME favorite songs. This song, "Whole of the Moon" by The Waterboys, has always deeply moved me spiritually. More often than not, if all my attention is focused on fully listening to the music and lyrics of this song, I get full body tingles that my sister and I refer to as "God Hugs." Yes, there are a few specific lines that capture how I feel about God, but mostly I think my feelings for this song are poetic rather than a scientific disection of language. Here are just a couple of stanzas:

I pictured a rainbow, You held it in your hand
I had flashes, butYou saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

I was grounded, While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth, You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley, You saw "Brigadoon"
I saw the crescent, You saw the whole of the moon- Yeah

Whenever I'm feeling frustrated about only seeing a sliver of God's perfect balance of Truth & Grace, this song lifts my spirits and raises my voice in praise and reverence of His Glory.