I have heard it said that Christian music is rarely either.
If you’re not looking for hymns, the good stuff is hard to find. Whatever the genre, music with lyrics that are accurate and worshipful just isn’t on the top of most popular lists.
I am very grateful that I grew up on the music of Steven Curtis Chapman. He could always be trusted to have lyrics that uplifted, challenged, convicted, and provoked thought. Through imagery, metaphors, similes, or just a good story, every song has something profound to say. A great deal of the theology and practical teaching I received on Sundays and from my parents was reiterated in the SCC music I listened to while house-cleaning during the week. Let Us Pray reminded me of the truth that praying isn’t just for the dinner table or worship service, but any and all moments of the day, “like breathin’ in and breathin’ out.” By God’s grace I still pray like this. As a part of my thoughts, prayer is in and out of my mind throughout everything. But this evening I want to talk about his song The Mountain.
He speaks of being on a mountaintop of calm, peaceful waters, with a view for miles, and troubles nearly out of sight. A place where his faith is strengthened; he never wants to leave, but he knows he’s headed for the valley, and God will go with him to help him remember what he learned “up on the mountain”. It is never stated in the song whether he refers to a meaningful vacation or a mountaintop in his spiritual life. The imagery leans toward the latter, but it doesn’t matter. It was a song I could always apply to summer/winter camp ‘spiritual mountaintop’ experiences where I had learned and grown so much, but knew that I had to (in my case, literally) go back down to the valley and try to keep this fresh focus on the things of God through the bombardment of real life troubles and temptations.
This song reminds me to plead with the Lord to help me remember what I learn in those times. The times that my relationship with Him is close and strong provide a well from which to draw when my sin or a trial has left me in a desert valley. I remember that He is ready and willing to take me back up, up on the mountain. He is always faithful to do so.
One day, He will take me to a different mountain.
The place He has built for me in the city that needs neither sun nor moon, for it is lit by His glory.