Monday, February 15, 2016

Wait for It: Hamilton as Modern Psalm for Lent

Every Lent, I pair music from pop-culture with ancient psalms, a sort of neo-liturgical means for spiritual formation.  In my youth ministry days, teenagers would aid in the development of the seasonal playlist that merged witness of the past with voices of the present.  As Karl Barth has often been attributed as saying, we must read the Bible in one hand while reading the newspaper in the other. 

I suggest we read the Bible with earbuds; engage the text written by prophets of old while listening to the lyrics of social prophets today. As we do, the Spirit is sure to stir within our hearts and minds as we discern faithful movement in and for the world God so loves. 

This Lent, we begin with Hamilton, an “American Musical” most of us have merely listened to given both the sold-out venue and exorbitant ticket prices.

Nevertheless, the score of the “most addicting album ever” provides plenty of options for this year’s Modern Psalms for the Lenten Journey.  And lest we think Hamilton is merely an isolated narrative frozen within the era surrounding the American Revolution, many have reminded us the brilliance of this Broadway production is in its ability to draw "parallels between historical revolutions and equality movements happening now."

Which is the very ethos of this liturgical playlist each Lent, juxtaposing past and present as we lean into the redemptive rhythms of Christ’s cross and resurrection.  

And while we wait for the day when all those victimized by systems and institutions thirsty for power and privilege to be fully set free, may our waiting be everything but passive. May we actively engage and live into God's promised future here and now. 

Track 1 for Modern Psalms for Lent: Wait for It (Hamilton)

"Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes and we keep living anyway. We rise and we fall and we break and we make our mistakes. And if there's a reason I'm still alive when everyone who loves me has died I'm willing to wait for it. I'm willing to wait for it. Wait for it."

Suggested Psalms: Psalm 27; Psalm 62

The cast of Hamilton reinterprets original song in light of modern cries for justice.