Monday, March 14, 2011

Modern Psalms for the Lenten Journey: Mumford & Sons

Every year the Imago Dei Youth Ministry navigates the Lenten season with the Scriptures in our hands and the lyrics and medleys of contemporary songs ringing through our ears. We have called this pilgrimage, “Modern Psalms for the Lenten Journey.” One year we even compiled our own playlist and “album” that included a wide range of popular tracks coupled with modern psalms written by students. What has become an annual discipline is yet another way the Imago Dei Youth continue to have their hearts, minds, and imaginations formed by the biblical narrative that holds in tension the sorrow of the cross and the hope of the resurrection. And such formation has allowed them to claim the truths, even occasional laments and cynicisms, heard on the radio…or Bonaroo…so to then particiapte in God's dreams for the world.

This year’s playlist began with “Hard to Be,” by David Bazan. Read more about this song and related album in a previous post: David Bazan: Curse Your Branches

However, week two of the Lenten journey welcomes a ballad from Mumford & Sons, [1] a recent discovery thanks to the recommendation of a good friend and articles found within more recent issues of Relevant Magazine [2]. The song of choice, “Thistle and Weeds,” from their album, Sigh No More. This song could be paired with any of these selected Scriptures: Psalm 10, 13, 71; Matthew 13; Romans 8:18-25

Spare me your judgments and spare me your dreams,
Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams,
I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind,
Alone in the wind and the rain you left me,
It's getting dark darling, too dark to see,
And I'm on my knees, and your faith in shreds, it seems.

Corrupted by the simple sniff of riches blown,
I know you have felt much more love than you've shown,
And I'm on my knees and the water creeps to my chest.

But plant your hope with good seeds,
Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds,
Rain down, rain down on me,
Look over your hills and be still,
The sky above us shoots to kill,
Rain down, rain down on me.

But I will hold on
I will hold on hope

I begged you to hear me, there's more than flesh and bones,
Let the dead bury their dead, they will come out in droves,
But take the spade from my hands and fill in the holes, you've made.

But plant your hope with good seeds,
Don't cover yourself with thistle and weeds,
Rain down, rain down on me

While I would love to engage in a brief discourse about this song in particular and album in general, I will save that for another day. Instead, may this “modern psalm” speak to your heart and soul this Lenten season. Even more, may the Spirit of the crucified Christ uproot the thistles and weeds within us and rain down upon us the hope for a resurrection yet to come…

Another notable song that may be engaged as we draw closer to the Day of Resurrection , “Roll Away Your Stone.”

2010 Modern Psalms for the Lenten Journey (for links: )

“One Day” (Matisyahu)
“Always” (Switchfoot)
“Silence” (Matisyahu)
“Falling Slowly” (The Swell Season)
“Better Way” (Ben Harper)
“Ten Thousand Angels” (Sandra McCracken)
“Resurrect Me” (Jon Foreman)

[1] Here is a brief excerpt from their on-line bio: “Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices. They are staunch friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane - who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business. They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon, and their incredible energy draws us in quickly to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men.”

[2] Relevant Magazine recently discussed the contributions of bands like Mumford & Sons for liturgical rhythms and compositions. See “When the Sacred Is Secular,” written by Liz Riggs: