December 17, 2017

Blogging from “Worship and Arts” Part 2

trauma-lament.jpgI want to run through some of the highlights of Michael Card’s teaching sessions on “The Lost Language of Lament.” These are all short summaries from my notebook.

On 9-11, Calvin Seerveld called Michael and said, “See….you have no songs to sing.”

The language of Lament is the lost language of worship, and that loss leaves many people with no language for their experience.

At the end of his life, Van Gogh painted a church without a door. This is the experience of many people. They cannot find a way into the faith in God they once had. (Van Gogh was a minister for a while, known for his compassion for Belgian miners.) The faith was once there, but now there is no way in.

If there is no way to find the God who weeps for us, there is no reason to weep for others or even for ourselves.

Michael confessed that for the majority of his adult life he was unable to enter into worship at any of the three churches he was part of. It was not until he was able to begin expressing a “broken spirit and a contrite heart” that he began to genuinely make offerings in worship.

In Exodus, God brings his people into the wilderness in order to create the experience of his worth that creates worship.

Michael sees all of scripture as a progression, a journey. How do we see the law/Torah? It is the statement of the law of retribution. It is the beginning of the journey, as we see in Job 1. The rest of the book of Job is the journey to trust a person. Most of the journey in the Bible, and in Job, is a journey expressed in LAMENT. So Lament is essential to understanding the movement of scripture.

What is the cause of Lament: God is a God of hesed, “The God from whom you should receive nothing is the God who gives you everything.” When this God cannot be found, there is lament. Lament is the difference between hesed and the experience of suffering.

The substance of the sessions so far has been a survey of many of the Psalms of lament, and a survey of the book of Job.

Lament often chronicles the “loss of God” in suffering.

All lamenting Psalms end in worship except for Psalm 88.

A great example of a complaining lament is Psalm 73. (This is one of my favorite Psalms to preach.)

Laments say many things that are wrong. Much of lament is in contrast to the law of retribution in the wisdom books. Ecclesiastes, Song and Job are all “against wisdom” books, and two of them are full of lament.
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(8:50 p.m.) Just left Michael’s evening concert. Phenomenal. It was a shame to see only 300 people there, and it is a demonstration of the loss of audience for some of the most talented people in Christian music.

Michael plays piano, several different guitar and string instruments, and the banjo. He had an accompanist on keyboards and piano (when he was playing guitar.)

The songs are all taken from Michael’s Bible studies, many from his albums going thematically through books like Hebrews or character studies like Peter. When he sings and plays he sits in a chair and does almost nothing of a “show” nature. It’s no different than sitting in Michael living room.

Many of these songs featured laments. He did a number of songs from his new cd “The Hidden Face of God,” and from his Old Testament trilogy, especially on Job.

Michael is a skilled guitarist, and plays left handed with the strings reversed. He’s amazing to watch. He is no Phil Keaggy, but he knows how to match a song and an instrument perfectly.

Two hours disappeared quickly. There was an offering for Vietnamese Bible distributed by Worldserve, an organization Michael works with that ministers to the suffering church.

If you have the opportunity to see Michael in concert or to enjoy his teaching through his books or in person, be sure and do so.

Comments

  1. I’ve seen him “in concert” twice. (More accurately, performing at churches, but you gotta pay to get in.) Both times were impressive. It’s great to hear a Christian artist who writes music with some meat in it, as opposed to the other junk out there. It’s not even milk; it’s formula. Pun intended.

    Card also has an awesome radio show, “In the Studio with Michael Card,” which features music, interviews, and more bible studies. The podcast feed for it is http://www.michaelcard.com/ITS/ITS.rss.