Nashville Prayer, Death of a Father – 90 Days of Service, Day 2

As many of you are aware (or may not be aware), the Lord directed my steps to Nashville this summer for a three month summer internship at Belmont University Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) with Kevin Twit, while working at the Music City Hostel. Kevin is the RUF College Pastor whose brainchild is Indelible Grace.  The recording of Indelible Grace VI is slated to begin on Monday, June 4th.

An additional goal of the internship is to serve Nashville-based Christian artists that are putting the Scriptures to song and/or writing theologically solid material.  I am essentially treating this internship as a missions trip to Nashville in order to serve, in any way possible, the spiritual mentors and artists that have poured deeply into my soul through their content.  I view artists as “cultural missionaries” and am coming to support the missionaries that are driving the Gospel into our hearts.  The art of Indelible Grace lead me to the riches of Reformed Theology that unpacks the depth of the Bible’s covenental revelation of the One, True God in the person and finished work of Jesus.

The hope is to continue to develop the Biblical Counseling Through Song concept by completing my manuscript for publication in 2013 and gain permission from the contributing artists to use their content, free of charge.  According to Moses in Deutoronomy (Deu 15:10) and the Apostle Matthew (Mat 10:8), freely we have received and freely we are to give, with God’s grace and Holy Spirit as our empowerment.

This summer is 90 days of service to the artists I love, without charge nor with strings attached.  Today was day 2, the first day following my first sleep in Nashville.  It is a day that is seared into my consciousness.  Let me explain…

This morning, Saturday, June 2nd, was my second day of my internship.  I woke early in the new downtown location of the Music City Hostel to take a prayer walk on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge at sunrise over the Cumberland River.  The below picture sets the tone for the Glory of God unveiled by the rising of His Sun.


Shelby Sunrise

Reflections over the Cumberland

During this prayer walk, the Lord confirmed that I am supposed to pray for Nashville this summer – to pray in a manner that draws the community of the saints together for His Glory and our Joy.  My mind turned over the possibilities, but the surrounding cityscape made it plain.  Whispers from a Far off Country beckoned to pray in the morning and to invite others.  The prayer – that the Glory of God would be revealed in His Saints by their meditation on His character, nature, and attributes – for the Bride to be captivated with her returning Groom (John 3:29) and Kinsman Redeemer (Ruth 4:14).  So, I asked the Lord if He would draw His Saints together in order to Prayer Walk in the mornings using the playlists that I have put together.  The plan was to start with “On Fear of the Lord”.

Andrew Peterson recently wrote a blog post on the Rabbit Room where He experienced the “ugly cry” during a recent morning run.  The “ugly cry” was in full effect this morning on the bridge spanning between downtown Nashville and her stadium across the Cumberland.  The Lord overwhelmed me!

Downtown Nashville (Over the Shoulder)


Fast forward through a swim at the Nashville Downtown YMCA and six hours of cleaning bathtubs, toilets, and sinks at the Music City Hostel.  Phone rang twice from Mom.  The long awaited day of reckoning had come.  The day of my Dad’s passing over the river beyond was upon us.  I was shocked, but not surprised.  My dad has had a life full of suffering and suffering that led him to a death that could have been prevented.  The Lord overwhelmed me.

So, how am I to make sense of today?  At the closing of the day, I’m still not really sure. However, it seems as if today is a sign of a finished war that is still raging in the heavenly places that we sense, but can not see.  God has been good to grant me Grace in the midst of this confusion and suffering in the midst of the battlefield.  Psalm 91 is the prayer tonight.  But my mind wonders if the Angels are singing this evening over my Dad…

A morning prayer on a bridge over the Cumberland became a source of comfort to ponder whether my Dad had taken the bridge of Jesus from the “Land of the Dead” to the “Land of the Living”.

I didn’t want to be alone tonight and Kevin was good to invite me out to a Matthew Perryman Jones album release concert for his new album, “The Land of the Living”.  A few Nashville friends were in attendance and the Lord provided comfort with the last two songs – “The Angels are Singing” and “The Land of the Living”.  I would recommend the album.  As I head home to give a eulogy, the two songs spoke deeply to me tonight.  Matthew’s lyrics are below:

The Angels Were Singing
– Matthew Perryman Jones and Sandra McCracken (background vocals)

I am talking to Stone,
And listening to birds.
With no more to say,
I kiss my fingers,
And touch the red dirt.

I am wandering away,
through moon colored field,
My heart was a weight of rage and sorrow,
That longed to be healed,
So I started running to feel more alive,
To wake up my senses,
that slowly had died.
And I wondered if Angels were singing that night.

Nothing’s the same,
Colors aren’t bright.
Since I’ve kissed your face,
and slowly whispered,
My last Goodbye.
And thinking of Jesus,
at Lazarus’s side,
A heavenly sadness,
and shadows of light.
His eyes saw the city,
where all is made Right.
And I heard that angels were singing that night.

The angels were singing
while we sat and cried,
Each tear was a chorus,
a sacred reprise,
And I finally was grieving that Long Goodbye.

And I heard the Angels singing that night.

The Land of the Living
– Matthew Perryman Jones

Into the Land of the Living,
Black bleeds orange into blue.
I am coming to life,
Light is breaking through!

I can hear the bells in the city,
Across the ancient shore.
I am ready to fight,
Let down the scarlet cord!

It’s time to share this masquerade,
Oh, you can not love in moderation.
You’re dancing with a dead man’s bones.
Lay your soul on the threshing floor.

Between the walls and the river,
Shoulders bear the sacred stones.
We’ve made it alive,
We are not alone!

You kissed the ground,
and changed your name.

No, you can not love in moderation.
You’re dancing with a dead man’s bones.
Lay your soul on the threshing floor.

I heard the distant battle drum.
Mockingbirds spoke in tongues.
Longing for the day to come,
I set my face,
forshook my fears,
I saw the city through my tears,
The darkness will soon disappear,
This world and the Sun (Son)…

I am coming home.
I am coming home.
I am coming home.
I am coming home.

There is mourning tonight in the heart of this former rich, young, ruler and the cry from a Far Country is clear.  Although there may be weeping tonight, joy will come in the morning (in the mourning).  Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything.  Now is a time for grief.  Thanking God that the Sun of righteousness from Malachi 4 in the Old Testament found it’s fulfillment in the Son of Righteousness of 2 Peter 1:19.  Clinging to Him and looking to my Heavenly Father for comfort.  He has hid me in the cleft of the Rock and placed His hand over me (Exodus 34).

Please pray that the Spirit would pour the Grace of God upon Nashville, Scranton, and my family.  May God get the Glory.  Father, redeem the brokeness that tears at our hearts.

The Lord has brought me home.  This world is not it.  I am caught in a sojourn that is powered by His scandalous Grace.

And, I am coming home…

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