A word on this Sunday’s music

This Sunday, the newly ordained Father James Manley will be preaching and celebrating at both of our services (note the new times!). Our lectionary has prescribed Luke 15:1-10, the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, as well as Psalm 51 (David’s confession and plea to the Lord for mercy). James+ will preach about confession and repentance and how we, the church, are a community of saved sinners, called to continual confession and repentance.

A wonderfully gifted song-writer and church musician in our diocese, Wendell Kimbrough (Church of the Apostles, Fairhope, Alabama), has recently written a song based on another of David’s Psalms, Psalm 32, in which David extols the joys of forgiveness through confession.

We’ll sing this song at our Offertory this Sunday. You may want to read Wendell’s explanation of the song’s inspiration as you listen. The lyrics can be viewed at the bottom of this page.  We hope this song helps bring the Psalm alive and encourages each of us to not hide our brokenness but to confess to God and to one another, to forgive as we’re forgiven by our heavenly Father, and to be a part of His family of grace!

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In Psalm 32, David is telling what I think is a very human and familiar story.  He was hiding the broken parts of his life.  He was traveling through life trying to keep people (and God) from seeing the parts of himself that were wrong, broken, inadequate.  We all do this.  On one level it’s necessary to survival, but it ultimately sabotages our lives.  In my life, I know I’ve spent enormous amounts of energy trying to hide the broken parts of me from myself, from God, and especially from my community.  The voice of shame tells us, “If you show your brokenness and weakness, you will be rejected.”  But the irony David highlights in this psalm is that, when he kept silent and hidden, his life deteriorated.  It’s the very act of hiding that isolates us from intimacy, fellowship, and love.  

The turning point of the psalm is when David finally says, “I will confess!”  And he speaks out–he tells his friends and his God what is wrong with him.  He tells his story of brokenness.  And instead of the shame he anticipated, the psalm says he was surrounded with “shouts of deliverance,” and a celebration breaks out. David receives grace. 

I think Psalm 32 contains one of the keys to life.  It’s the very act of telling our shameful stories that allows us to be free from shame.  Only as I speak about what is broken in me can I really experience grace, love, intimacy, and connection–connection to God, and connection to my brothers and sisters in the human family.

Blest is the soul that’s free from deceit—
No need to hide what he says from what he means.
Blest is the heart forgiven by love,
Whose every fault our good Lord covers up.

Long I disguised and buried my shame;
Ran through the night and I groaned through the day.
Shelter I sought and thought I was safe,
Oh silent soul, how you wasted away!

Then at last I told all my sins,
And with shouts of joy, loving arms took me in
To my one true safe place:
In the love of God and the family of grace!

So listen up, if you truly want to live:
Do not hide alone in the dark like this one fool did.
Be not like the mule as he fights against the reins.
Come let your broken heart be bound by grace!

Words and Music: © 2016 Wendell Kimbrough

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