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  • Writer's pictureJustin Bills

The Songs For The Sermon

Ok, how about something a little fun for today: These are the songs that set the background for my study and writing in preparation for the sermon this week. It's crazy how much music can set the right mood and space for me to pray and write. I wanted to share these songs because they helped prepare my heart for the scripture and maybe they might do the same for you!

This Sunday is The Transfiguration Sunday! It's the last Sunday of Epiphany and what an epiphany it was! Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on a mountain and Moses and Elijah appear and Jesus starts to shine in all His Glory.

So of course I put on my playlist this song:

1. The Transfiguration by Sufjan Stevens:

Love the story retold as poetry. The scripture in song goes deeper into my heart as I listen to it, especially the end:

Lost in the cloud, a voice

Have no fear, we draw near

Lost in the cloud, a sign

Son of man, turn your ear

As I pray for our Sunday gathering and the story of the Transfiguration, my prayer has become: Help us to have faith in Jesus, to see Him is all His glory and to draw near and listen to Him.

2. Up On A Mountain by The Welcome Wagon

Mountain tops are metaphors for closeness to God. The transfiguration brings all the mountaineers together, all the ones who met God on a mountain: Moses, Elijah and now Jesus.

This song though, tells us of Jesus up on a mountain alone, crying tears, and praying. I had forgotten that Jesus went to the mount of Olives and had a completely different experience than the one on the mount of transfiguration. It wasn't His glory revealed, it was his sorrow and humanity.

It's because of Jesus and His suffering that I am even able to enjoy the presence of God -- It's because of Him and his tears that I can enjoy the intimacy of God on the mountain tops.

The difference between the mount of Transfiguration and the Mount of Olives is startling. Both mountains show us something. The Mount of Transfiguration: Jesus' divinity, power, authority and glory. The mount of Olives: His humanity, pain, tears and suffering.

Both invite me to enter and worship.

What a savior.

3. With God on Our Side - Bob Dylan

Ok, I have to admit, this one has little to do with the transfiguration. This was more an overflow from last week's "Turn The Other Cheek Sermon". None the less, I wanted to keep listening this week, because it's so good.

Bob Dylan wrote this song when he was 22, I mean c' mon! As I sought out Christ's non-violent teachings I couldn't help but listen to this song which asks is God ever on our side when we are killing people? Are we the people of turning the other cheek? Or would we rather call on God to help us kill our enemies? Oh man, we need songs like this written today.

Alright, those are the songs on my playlist this week. Any I've missed? Any good mountain, transfiguration songs you know of?

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