Connected

Love is more than a general feeling of affection. It creates a spiritual connection between people, and it calls for action. There are two scriptures referenced in this song. The first is the Jesus’ last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion found in John 13-15. The second is from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:43-48.

Connected; We are connected.
We all share one heart;
Only hate tears us apart.
Abiding in our soul,
Only love makes us whole.
Love makes us all connected.

Many times, people aren’t aware.
This whole world is here for us to share.
If we open our eyes and our hearts
We will see that we’re not far apart.

Connected; We are connected.
We all share one heart;
Only hate tears us apart.
Abiding in our soul,
Only love makes us whole.
Love makes us all connected.

Thursday evening, Jesus told his friends,
“Abide in me, and I’ll be with you through the end.
Love each other as I have loved you
And they’ll see that the Good News is true.”

Connected; We are connected.
We all share one heart;
Only hate tears us apart.
Abiding in our soul,
Only love makes us whole.
Love makes us all connected.

It’s to easy to love those who love me.
And it’s a challenge to love our enemies.
The one who saves us sends sun upon us all
And the rain falls on the great and the small.

 

Nothing Can Stop God’s Love

This song takes its inspiration from two places. The first is Charles Wesley’s hymn “Blest Be the Dear Uniting Love.” The second is Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town, South Africa, which has a sign outside that reads, “We were born in love, by love, for love.” Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:39).

The uniting love that won’t let us part;
when we’re far away we’re still one in heart.

The spirit empowers us and tells us to go;
and we’ll follow Jesus here below.

We were made by love
We were made in love
We were made for love
Nothing can stop God’s love

We’ll walk in his way, and know him inside
the power of one who was crucified.

We all are one, so let us agree
to share his truth in unity.

We were made by love
We were made in love
We were made for love
Nothing can stop God’s love

No height or depth, no sword of hate,
not even our death can separate.

Blest be the dear uniting love
that joins us with our God above.

 

Grace Will Conquer

Too many Christians have used the word “sin” like a club to beat up other people. “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” in particular, has become code language for a kinder, gentler homophobia.

But sin is not just sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. It describes the systems of destruction and self-destruction in which we are all complicit: racism, exploitation of the planet, gun violence—stuff most churches shy away from talking about. Jesus didn’t shy away from talking about sin—especially the sin of religious people.

But the whole point of talking about sin is to lift up the alternative. Life in the kingdom is about liberation, justice, and healing. That’s what this song is about.


There’s sinning in the needle
and sinning in the glass
There’s sin that sells us everything
with sexy photographs

There’s sinning in the bedroom
And in the boardroom, too
There’s sinning from the pulpit
in what they’ll say to you

But grace is greater than all our sin
But grace will conquer all our sin.

We sin in what we do
And what we leave undone
We worship praise and holidays,
the dollar and the gun

And in the name of Jesus
we’ll tell you who we hate
We’ll use our faith and politics,
Lord, to discriminate
But grace is greater than all our sin.
But grace will conquer all our sin.

I hear there is a kingdom
It’s coming any day
Where wounded folks find healing
and their sins are washed away.

Lord, in the arc of history
bring justice to our land.
And give us all the courage
to love they way you can.

‘Cause grace is greater than all our sin
Grace will conquer all our sin.

 

Desperate

The man who cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) understood that faith is about more than believing. Christians often talk about belief as if it is a simple matter of flexing a muscle or choosing to ignore doubt and worry. But in the Bible we meet a God with whom we wrestle (Genesis 32:24).

This is a song for folks who struggle with believing and wonder if they have “enough” faith. We meet people in the Bible who come to Jesus and insist on touching him who having nothing left to lose. The woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years had used every other option (Luke 8:43-48). Thomas demands proof before he will believe in the resurrection (John 20:24-29). Both of them have the audacity to insist on touching Jesus.


One day she sees him walking
She’s bled for far too long, so surely this won’t hurt.
Everyone’s too busy talking.
Nobody notices her brush against his shirt.

When he turns, she hears their laughter.
And she fears to see the anger in his eyes.
But then she hears him call her daughter.
And the crowd around her hushes in surprise.

Some people think faith is believing
But I’m here to set them straight:
Shooting stars aren’t where faith’s living
We touch God when we’re desperate.

Thomas won’t believe their stories.
Says that he must touch the hole upon his side.
He’s not one for wishful thinking,
Telling stories of one living who has died.

Jesus comes when least expected.
And he says to Thomas, “Come and know the truth.
All your doubts I have respected.
You will know me when you know these open wounds.”

Shooting stars do not grant wishes;
Fairies can’t be rescued with our clapping hands.
Christ is there when we are empty.
From the cross he shows he truly understands.

See the world and how they’re bleeding.
Healing only comes from One who knows their pain.
They will come to you for feeding.
They will come and these dry bones will live again.

 

More Righteous Than Me

The story of Tamar and Judah (Genesis 38) is a feminist parable. It demonstrates three very modern ideas: 1) We apply a double standard we apply to men’s and women’s sexual ethics, 2) economics and patriarchy conspire to oppress people, and 3) that people who yell loudest about other people’s sins are often guilty of the same thing.

Both this story and the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) should remind Christians to be circumspect about leveling judgment against other people. The Bible consistently surprises us the ways outsiders “get it” before insiders do. That’s one reason judging other people (Matthew 7:1) is dangerous.

There aren’t a whole lot of hymns about humility in the church, even though it’s one of Jesus’ biggest themes. Maybe if we sang about this stuff more, church leaders would be less annoying?

There’s some offensive language in this song—because it’s the same language used in the Bible.


Poor Tamar got pregnant after having some fun,
So Judah blew a gasket and took up his gun
Went down to her house and he banged on her door
Yelled out to all the neighbors she was playing the whore

They dragged her to the gallows there to put her to death
She said, “let me speak before I draw my last breath:
The man who got me pregnant gave me this signet ring.”
Judah took one look and felt his conscience sting.

She’s more righteous than me
She’s more righteous than me
I pray that one day I’ll have the grace to see
that the people who I judge may be the ones judging me
And I hope that when they do they do it mercifully
So that’s why I remember she’s more righteous than me

One day a man was walking down to Jericho
Through a neighborhood where nobody should go.
Some muggers beat him bloody and they left him to die,
And the preachers and the lawyers just passed him on by.

The hero of the story, well I thought he would be,
And ordinary citizen like you or like me.
But Jesus says the person who finally gave him aid
Was the person who I find it most easy to hate.

He’s more righteous than me (O, Lordy)
He’s more righteous than me
I pray that one day I’ll have the grace to see
that the people who I judge may be the ones judging me
And the measure I give will be the measure I get
So when you judge me, Jesus, please be lenient

Our privilege and our prejudice are deep in our bones
It’s easy to forget when we are gathering stones.
We treat our fellow humans like they’re part of a game
The mob will choose the ones who lose with public shame

Our righteous indignation we can’t satisfy
And in our anger any stranger we’ll crucify
But Jesus is the one who bravely takes our place
And this is what we sing when we look in his face

They’re more righteous than me
They’re more righteous than me
I pray that one day I’ll have the grace to see
that the people who I judge may be the ones judging me
And the measure I give will be the measure I get
So when you judge me, Jesus, please forgive and forget.