Tuesday, December 31, 2013

She Must and Shall Go Free, Part 3

I went to see Derek Webb perform a 10th Anniversary concert for his first solo album.  Here are some notes.  (Part 3)

After the request and new song time, it's back to SMASGF.

7 Awake My Soul
I always think of this one as "No One Is Good Enough."  Webb is starting to have increasing trouble with short high notes (his voice must be really getting tired/strained), but I'm amazed by how complex a sound two guitars can produce.

8 Saint and Sinner
People start getting clappy, which surprises me.  A lot.  Not sure why they picked this song to try, but God bless 'em, they tried.   Anyway, we're all complex moral beings, and just because we're saved doesn't mean our relationships with others only involve our sanctified parts.  We have to accept the saint and the sinner in each other. 
"I'm not a half a man./ A saint and a sinner/ is what I am."
9 Beloved
This song always gets me a little choked up.  He sings it with such sad, understanding warmth about the ways we enslave ourselves. 
"And now you would rather be/ a slave again than free from the law." 
"And don't you ever let anyone tell you/ that there's anything that you need/ but Me."

10 Crooked Deep Down
It's one of the most chipper songs about total depravity you will ever encounter.  Webb says it's one of the oldest songs, one he played with Caedmon's Call but never recorded.  He says it was "a song I wrote about Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, Manson, and Me."  He also confides that he's glad he didn't try to record it before he meet Meeks, who brings an excellent, almost hillbilly sensibility to the song.  Pretty much all of the lyrics are funny and thought-provoking.
"My life looks good, I do confess./ You can ask anyone./ Just don't ask my real good friends/ 'cause they will lie to you./ Or, worse, they'll tell the truth."
"Good Lord, I am crooked deep down;/ everyone is crooked deep down."
11 The Church
The final song is one that's painful for me to listen to.  When I was really feeling pushed away from my white, upper middle class, suburban church and its lack of concern for the things God says he cares for in His word, when I was really feeling like I didn't want to be around his people--because most of the ones at my church service were all broken and desperately refusing to do anything but desperately hide their brokenness behind fake smiles and casual relationships--this song gently but very firmly reminded me that I am not able to have a relationship with him without them.  We are all the church, all his bride in all our broken, jagged-edged body.  If we love God, we must love the people He loves, and He loves His bride so much we really can't even comprehend it.  This truth didn't make it any easier to attend services on Sunday, but it made it harder for me to just give up completely.  God knows how bad church people are, really, and He still tells us to love them the way he loves us, despite how bad we individually are.  I cry whenever I hear this song because it is so lovely and thoughtful and true, and it is a struggle for me that hasn't gone away.
"'Cause I haven't come for only you,/ but for my people to pursue./  And you cannot care for me with no regard for her./ If you love me, you will love the Church./"

It's later than I expected.  As much as I would like to take him up on his offer to talk after the concert, to ask the questions about the things I'm not sure I understand, I instead get up stiffly and walk off into the cold night, carefully not slipping on the patchy ice, thinking about too many things, and humming quietly.

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