“And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” 1 Sam 16:23 RSV-CE
On this mid-April morning, the sun is hidden behind thick snow clouds. The overcast view from my window creeps into my awareness and feels particularly heavy. This clouded and snowy “Spring” day is an offensive reminder that the days we Christians have been called to are often characterized by a similar spiritual darkness and oppressive moodiness.
I am sipping a dark coffee roasted by Carmelite monks from Wyoming and am wishing that the caffeine would cut through the haze I feel in my tired mind. I am hoping that the spiritual reading I did this morning will renew my weary soul. But so many dark days strung together are taking their toll.
About a week ago, Adam Wright shared The Corner Room’s Psalm Songs with me. We have been playing it in the early morning and during dinner prep every day since. As I turned it on this morning, the melodic tones felt like sunshine invading my dark living room. The fiddle cut through my bad attitude and drew my attention to the sacred Word of God. Psalm 121 was being proclaimed in the textured and enchanting music. “I lift up my eyes to the hills! From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved.”
In this video, SD Smith says that it is his hope that the work that they do at Story Warren will be the kindling of small embers that can push back against the darkness of our world. In The Green Ember, we are inspired by characters who are “heralds of the mended wood.” Heroes who live in anticipation of the coming victory. Saints who live in the promise that this moment will bear good fruit if we consecrate it to His glory. Our Lord is not done with the story yet and we are called to trust that the victory will surely be His. To be a herald means that we labor in the vineyard and trust Him with the results no matter how many storm clouds hover above.
If I am honest, the darkness is oppressive but I do hear the horns of Rohan (the ancient allies of Aragorn and the Fellowship in The Lord of the Rings – warning this scene is violent). I hear the horns in stories like The Green Ember and Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga. I hear the horns in music like Slugs and Bugs and The Corner Room. I can see the banners of ancient allies approaching in the work of The Rabbit Room, Story Warren, Read Aloud Revival and the CiRCE Institute.
The music in Psalm Songs is unique among Christian music today. I think that The Corner Room artists are modern day Davids. The music is artistic, modern and worshipful without being heavy, aggressive or compromising. They have done a brilliant job of pairing the word for word psalms (ESV) to music that matches the tone and conveys the spiritual landscape of these ancient and ever-new words of worship.
“My soul is cast down within me therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan… Why have you forgotten me?” (Psalm 42) Psalm Songs lets us feel a wide range of David’s emotions and invites us to worship with him in a way that reminds us of God’s promises, His love for us amidst our doubts and fears and His strength.
In our churches today we have placed so much emphasis on classic hymns and modern songs of worship. As a Catholic, I appreciate that we sing psalms at every mass but I wish that they sounded more like what I think psalmist must have sounded like to Saul and his court. Somehow, this cd accomplishes that. The music in this project feels timeless while also feeling relevant to me without being “contemporary.” It sounds as though the psalms are being sung for ears and hearts that live in this part of the great story.
I thank God for raising up artists who humbly submit their craft to His will. In a time that is characterized by compromise, progressive modernity, and artistic relativism, this worship stands in the gap. Firmly rooted in the goodness of the eternal story and marked with ancient truth this music is artistically beautiful and a true balm to aching souls. #DeoGratias!
I will use this music to light a beacon in the life of my family.
**NOTE: I asked The Corner Room how we could best support their music with our purchase. It is a question I try to ask authors and artists whenever I can because when given the option to stretch my investment to their benefit, I would prefer to do that. As any savvy online buyer knows, Amazon, iTunes, et al make buying convenient and our artists are grateful for all purchases. The fact is, however, that they do better (financially) when we buy directly from them.
If you would like to see more of your pennies go directly to The Corner Room so that they can invest in future projects, please consider purchasing directly from their website. Don’t miss the opportunity, however, to leave them a great review on Amazon and iTunes – those matter too.