It won’t stop raining. We keep our muddy boots in a barrel beside the door, next to a shelf of umbrellas and towels. Every time we come in from the drizzle, we give the barrel the evil eye. It always looks appropriately ashamed.
I yelled at my sons yesterday. As tempting as it is to blame the weather or their attitudes or Trump (I kid), I know that the problem isn’t something in the room. It’s something in my skin.
We’re in the season of lent right now – the time for preparing our hearts for Easter. “Lent” literally means springtime, and I feel it in my bones. Spring is coming to my ground and my soul.
Not everything that thaws is pleasant. Sure, there are the tulips and all. But the thaw also lifts the blanket off a winter’s-worth of dog poop and previously hidden road kill. Spring is the beauty of promise and the stench of unveiling.
This Easter looms large, like a slow sunrise. As the rays of dawn lengthen, so do the shadows. When the Easter sun rises high, I want to dance in it, but first I need to clean the yard. And so I have embraced lent’s quintessential work: repentance.
Lent is more than halfway over, and I’m weary. There’s nothing like standing knee-deep in dog poop for 31 days to make you realize how big the yard is. I needed music to keep me going. That’s where this playlist comes in.
On the days I can’t pray or read or confess another word, I listen to these songs and I remember.
Because every holy season deserves a killer playlist.
Check it out on this YouTube Playlist
or, ad-free, on this Amazon Unlimited Playlist
Scroll down to see the track list and some of my favorite lines from the songs:
Nothing starts off a time of repentance like a little Latin. This beautiful song is a great segue into worship, as the haunting melody sings again and again to the “Lamb of God.”
“Forgive me Lover for I have sinned
for I have done you wrong…
But this estranged organ in my chest
still beats for you. It will not rest…”
“You are the blood in my chest.
The bird gathering nest.
The sea which won’t rest
until I’m home.”
“And when I looked him in the eyes, I felt the weight of all my sin,
for I know what the law required
a death for death, a traitor’s end
But when I thought I’d feel his wrath
despaired and filled with shame
He bent down to search my eyes
and with such love whispered my name…”
“Some holy ghost keeps me hanging on…”
“From this broken hill all your praises they shall ring if it be your will to let me sing.”
“All the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them but nothing is a waste.”
“Because of His great love, we are not overcome…”
Sometimes the best songs don’t say a word.
“Oh the lonely road you’re on, was it to Calvary?”
“Back broke and crying
Cause it’s near
Cause it’s near
“It’s God the surgeon and He’s come to save my life. I’m finding mercy cuts like a sharpened knife…”
“Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to your ways…”
“Do you feel the world is broken? We do.
Do you feel the shadows deepen? We do.
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? We do.”
“Now you have put the wine back in the glass. You have put the blood back in me.”
“With the pruning the branch is stronger,
I will learn to love the sheers…”
“Call all our names and we’ll be found.”
“You cut me deep, I know, I felt it but it’s the sweetest kind of pain.
Oh sweet relief, you took my burden, so I believe. Oh I believe.”
“In labor all creation groans ‘
til fear and hatred cease
’til human hearts come to believe
in Christ alone is peace.”
“I’m not sure why it always goes downhill, why broken cisterns never could stay filled.”
“Here is the fire and the wood but where is the sacrifice?
Here in the place of our sin, He will Himself provide.”
“Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to your ways.”
“Our mouths they were filled, filled with laughter.
Our tongues they were loosed, loosed with joy.
Restore us, O Lord.”
“But they whom sin has wounded sore find healing in the wounds He bore.”
“There’ll be no more running ’round for me, no more back down, you’ll see.”
“Let us come again, and feed on Him, our Lord Emmanuel.”
“Truth be known, you’re not alone.
Your aching bones will find a home
In place where God He set us free…
Oh Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani.”
“We nailed Him to a tree,
not a word, not a word, not a word.
He never said a mumblin’ word.”
“He will not cry out or raise His voice
He will not call out or loose His chains.
He will not raise up against His foe
or condemn all who mocked as he bled
He will rain mercy on all of their heads.”
“Answer, Father, answer prayer.
Bless, O bless, each weak endeavor
blood bought pardon to declare.”
“But the darker shades He painted, the ones that I had asked for not
put me in the shadow of the cross.”
“When I stand in the presence of a holy God, and I flee and I cover my face,
my heart filled with shame yet you still called my name
and you break me by the power of your grace.”
“Give us clean hands. Give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another.”
“Break us, O Lord, that we may be whole again.”
“I knew you’d never forgive me,
but I was wrong.
And I’m so, so sorry.”