I’ve been writing more music lately and it’s been a lot of fun. I decided I need music to drink my coffee to in the morning; music that draws my attention to some of the underlying themes that I often think about: grace, mercy, and what that means to my day. I also need contemplative music for nighttime to drink my tea to, to put the day to rest.
So, here you go. This is my first song. It’s called “Coffee Song” (clever title, I know).
As I wrote this first song, I was contemplating this excerpt from one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner (I think most of my morning songs will be based on Buechner’s writings, FYI):
After centuries of handling and mishandling, most religious words have become so shopworn nobody’s much interested anymore. Not so with grace, for some reason. Mysteriously, even derivatives like gracious and graceful still have some of the bloom left.
Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.
A good sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace. Loving somebody is grace. Have you ever tried to love somebody?
A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do.
The grace of God means something like: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too (Buechner, 1973, p. 38-39).
You’ll notice that in the song I sing: “Let’s fall in love with the world.” On one level what I’m saying is, “Seize the day! Life is good!” On a theological level, you may ask, “doesn’t that just go against 1 John 2:15-17 in a highly heretical kind of way?” Well, let me explain. 1 John talks about the world in terms of it’s “desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions.” I’m not talking about that kind of ‘loving the world:’ seeking happiness in visible things as Wesley’s commentary puts it, or even in the “world-system” as Scofield puts it (and interesting fact, apparently I’m related to Scofield on my maternal grandmother’s side). Rather, what I mean is let’s fall in love our existence here (in the midst of brokenness, hardship, and the mundane – as well as beauty). We were created synonymously with this place. There is beauty here (from stars, to daffodils, to coffee – can I get an amen?), and God often meets us in the broken, hard, and mundane -as well as the beautiful (it’s just a matter of realizing it).
Also, let’s fall in love with the mission of loving the people in this place (you and me -one another) – it’s an aspect of being and making disciples with the character of Jesus. God so loved the world…John 3:16. If we are going to share in God’s mission (Missio Dei – God’s relentless pursuit of redeeming the world), we are going to have to catch/share/personify His love: the kind of unconditional, passionate love, that redeems and keep redeeming and keeps pursuing -the poor, the broken, the outcast, our neighbor… To experience the compassion and mercy of God for someone else, I think, feels a lot like “falling in love.” *Except, He [God] doesn’t need to ‘fall’ because that’s naturally how His love is: extravagant. However, we need His kind of love in us, so instead of running from the world, it’s time to fall in love with it with a God-sized love. So, yes, “…let us fall in love with the world as we lift our eyes to the sky [i.e. focus on Jesus and look forward to His return, living for Him with passion]. Oh this breath we breathe is too good not to share [i.e. let’s share what we’ve got because it’s soooo good!]…” Ugh, enough rambling, sorry.
….also, on another note. This is also a useful song if your name is Grace and you’re throwing a party…
by Joel Bidderman
Go ahead, invite me in
And pour some more coffee again
Let the morning arise
Let us sing without melody
And talk without words cutting in
Explore the world’s mysteries…and then
Relax for a while, while looking for the horizon
And let us walk
And let us talk
Let us fall in love with the world as we lift our eyes to the sky
Oh this breath we breathe
Is too good not to share
Grace – is having a party right here
I know this place is beautiful
And this place is terrible
But that’s no reason to fear
Through this silent dance of lives
Let us laugh with our eyes
And through our tears grin
Because peace is here…even if you don’t feel it yet
(c) 2013 Joel A Bidderman
Guitars, Mandolin, Percussion, Hammered Dulcimer and Vocals: Joel Bidderman
Amazing Bass: Reece Holbrook