Modern poets more often than not attach their words to music. As in any generation some are better than others. Certainly many musicians do not fall into the category of poet. And many poets are never discovered – at least not by the majority. This is not an indictment on the poet, but the majority – who struggle to find depth. The baby pool is more comfortable. It is as if safety were a virtue. Of course it may more be an indictment on pastors who find themselves joyfully swaddling congregations into comfort.
At the Crowder concert I was introduced to John Mark McMillan – who I only knew as the author of How He Loves. This in itself was an accomplishment, writing one of the most beautiful modern songs. One that should stand the test of time.
Yet I knew nothing of him, but his deep voice fascinated me and Meg. So we bought two of his CDs (had to order them online – the tour had sold-out, a good sign). And as we listened to the music I found myself reading the lyrics. A little jealous of his writing ability. A sin I know. But I pride myself in capturing words and am not scared to say I write better than most (pride – another sin, they do add up). But occasionally I will read something I doubt my own ability to write.
These are certainly the pages I want to read. That I need to hear echo in my mind. Words that rivet me, only to propel me forward.
It is an unsettling process. It does not leave me content, but hungry. But we should not settle for anything less. Comfort is too little a prize compared with knowing Him.
So here is the verses to John Mark McMillan’s Death in His Grave (Or Click Here to Hear the Song):
Though the Earth Cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls of men she craved
Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule
Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new
“Laid death in his grave”. A powerful image of the man shrouded in black. Sickle in hand. Then the coffin closes. We will not pay our dues again. The debt of blood was rent, but Christ has bought the house. Amen.
You notice who does not have any action in this story? Me. You. This is the greatest blessing of the Kingdom. It is not about me or you. But this is also our greatest temptation – we desire this world to be about ourselves. Just as I imagine myself to be a talented a writer. Scribbling out a blog. Doodles seeking praise, while the Poet has written new life in blood.