" I have waited long
But never given up
Never on love" (JENNIFER KNAPP - ON LOVE LYRICS)
When I was in high school, Jennifer Knapp was it! Our little Methodist youth worship band covered her songs with greater frequency than I currently quote Karl Barth. But that's another story.
I have always loved her music and was grieved when she faded out of her professional career for a prolonged sabbath from an industry that drained her life energy. I was not grieved because she took a break, I was saddened because she was talented.
Then she came out.
No, not with a new book like a previous post, she came out as a lesbian in a committed relationship. She shocked the Evangelical world, or at least many within, while still confessing she was a faithful Christian.
I believe she is (not that my opinion matters). Yet her witness now speaks life and love into a far different audience than those once seated on the lawn at such events as Creation East.
Maybe this is the audience God had in mind for her all long.
God knows they need good news of God's love. And maybe youth groups will cover her new songs, even if they are not endorsed by Chrisian labels and marketers.
I hope they do. They're fantastic.
While I am just now getting to her memoir-ish album, Letting Go, I believe it only fitting, given trending news about SCOTUS, Proposition 8, and DOMA, to engage Knapp as the final track to this year's "Modern Psalms for the Lenten Journey." J.Knapp's (as my youth group called her) lyric, "On Love," draws us (unintentionally) into a Holy Week of waiting at the table, lamenting at the cross, and lingering through Holy Saturday, confident that healing and hope will meet us on the other side. "On Love" pleas with us never to give up, especially on love.
This Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday, my prayer is for all people to encounter the good news of God's love in Christ. My prayer is for all people to walk into sanctuaries, maybe for the first time or at least the first time in a long time, and breathe in liturgies of hope and healing. I pray all find welcome, embrace, and relief in the good news of a God who entered this world, was rejected by the powerful and privileged of this world, was crucified by the political and religious of this world, and yet resurrected on the otherside of oppression and injustice in this world.
May the same be true today for all those who identify with the Oppressed One named Jesus.
May the church proclaim to all those who have felt rejected for so long and on the verge of running away, "Stay. Please. Stay."
Read Luke 24:13-35
Thoughts to Ponder:
1. Those who journeyed towards Emmaus said "they had hoped" Jesus was the one to redeem the long suffering of the people. Yet, in between the cross and empty tomb, they were disappointed. In what ways have you felt let down by God? How have you been disappointed by the church? Confess these feelings of heartache. Dare you to stay with God through these seasons of sorrow.
2. When Jesus journeyed alongside these dusty travelers, their eyes were opened as the Scriptures were read in a completely new way. Jesus reclaimed a hope many had given up on. How do you need to re-read the Scriptures with new eyes and hear hope in fresh perspective? Celebrate the presence of Christ in these very moments.
3. In light of both the story in Luke and Jennifer Knapp's, "On Love," consider what it means to stay with Jesus and the mission of the church in the midst of hard questions and crisis of faith? What does it mean to invite others not to give up on God's love for them in Christ? Who are those people, maybe it's you, who need to hear Jesus invitation to come and stay and listen to the story of the gospel in a new way?
If interested in reading more of her story check out these links:
Acknowledging Faith Voices Crucial for LGBT Civil Rights by Jennifer Knapp via Huffington Post
Jennifer Knapp Comes Clean (Relevant Magazine)
Jennifer Knapp Leaving Christian Music Behind (The Blaze)
Jennifer Knapp Comes Out (Christianity Today)