We Gotta Give This World Back to God

We Gotta Give This World Back to God

God's Hand Reaching Out of the Sky

we gotta give this world back to God
God’s Hand Reaching Out of the Sky

We gotta give this world back to God

You gotta get down on your knees

Believe, fold your hands, and beg and plead

Keep on! praying

You gotta cry, rain, tears of pain

Pound the floor, and scream His name

‘Cause we’re still worth saving

Can’t go on like this, and live like this

We can’t love like this

You can hope the best

Make a wish

The only answer is

We give this world back to God

Ohh, give it back …

Reba Mcentire Back to God

My friend Gordon Ashe posted this song on his Facebook newsfeed early this past week. If you click on Gordon’s embedded Facebook link, you’ll see that Gordon loves music, music of all kinds. Whether country, classical, orchestral, doesn’t seem to matter to him, just so long as it is beautiful: A beauty which emanates from God.

I understand why. Beautiful music has an ability to pierce our through our defenses, anger, regrets in a way that words cannot. And then can reach into our hearts to grab and twist…cracking them open.

I know-it has happened to me. More on that in a moment.

I have watched and listened to Reba McEntire sing this song, five-no, now seven, times. The video begins in a graveyard, we see a sobbing couple walking through and then stopping at a tombstone.

Then the video advances to Reba, alone in a church. Singing.

Singing and Praying.

Begging, really.

As only great country western singers can.

I was surprised to see that she recorded the song three years ago. Surprised because it seems so perfectly tailor-made for this year which will end in about three weeks.

Among the hundreds of reasons that I love her song so much is what it invokes- a clear memory of being in a church in London, England. I did not attend church back then. Had no interest in religion or church. And yet, when I heard the soloists begin to sing The Messiah, those sacred words reached into my heart and burrowed in to dig around.

A British friend invited us home to England for Christmas

and I jumped at the chance. A whole host of reasons to get out of Texas and the country:

  • My mother had died the Christmas before. Her death had been jam packed with contention; some of the enmity in my family still burned fiercely.
  • I had never been out of the US before.
  • Christmas held no religious significance for me.
  • I had just published a textbook which had consumed me for the last six years.
  • Why not go?

But I was unprepared for my reaction upon entering Westminster Abbey…tears…which coursed down my face. And never stopped until we left. Everyone presumed it was because of my mother and certainly that was part of it, but there was something else, something I could not name.

About five days later, the four of us attended a performance of The Messiah in the basement of St. James Church in Piccadilly Square. Once again, I was caught off guard. I had not never paid attention to The Messiah before…the music had been in the background but way back. Consumed as I was with the parties and the shopping.

From the opening lyrics of the performers, the tears began again:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 
(Isaiah 40: 1-3) 
And never stopped.
Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain. 
(Isaiah 40: 4) 
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 
Until the performance was over.

Yes, something else was going on.

We gotta give this world back to God

You gotta get down on your knees

Believe, fold your hands, and beg and plead

Keep on! praying

You gotta cry, rain, tears of pain

Pound the floor, and scream His name

‘Cause we’re still worth saving [italics mine and worth capitalizing-WE’RE STILL WORTH SAVING!]

Can’t go on like this, and live like this

We can’t love like this

You can hope the best

Make a wish

The only answer is

We give this world back to God

Ohh, give it back …

Reba Mcentire Back to God
Can’t abide county western music?

Okay- I get it. There was a time I couldn’t either. That was before I became a naturalized Texan. (It’s true, I have the papers.) It’s not possible to live long in Texas without falling for country music.

So how about Andrea Bocelli with a Russian soprano who, I promise, will wake you up? They perform an interpretation of Ave Maria that I suspect you never have heard.

This haunting, heartbreaking aria is especially suited for this year of suffering, 2020.

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