Musings: King David… King George?

guitar

I was listening to the radio when it occurred to me that Country Music lyrics are like modern-day Psalms. I’m sure it’s true of many other genres of music as well, but I have a particular fondness for Country. Ancient Israel had King David; we have King George – George Strait, that is. Some of the similarities are obvious, like this:

Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don’t just love their children every now and then
It’s a love without end, amen[1]

or

His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today[2]

There are also Psalms and Country songs about justice and liberation. Psalm 146 includes these words:

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry[3]

In 1992, Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis wrote these lyrics:

When the last child cries for a crust of bread,
When the last man dies for just words that he said,
When there’s shelter over the poorest head,
We shall be free[4]

Most often though, they are like the calls for retribution that occur in so many of the Psalms. Whereas the Psalmist believes that vengeance belongs to the Lord and writes words like this:

O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind. As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane.[5]

the Country singer takes matters into his (or her) own hands, and we get this:

flower potI pray your brakes go out running down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill
and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flying high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you[6]

or this:

I’m gonna lean my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn’t come here to start a fight,
But I’m up for anything tonight
You’ve gone and broke the wrong heart, baby,
And drove me redneck crazy[7]

Some of my favorites, though, are more like Hymns or Psalms from the Christian Scriptures.[8] I especially like Miranda Lambert’s Heart Like Mine which includes these words:

champagne glassesThese are the days that I will remember
When my name’s called on a roll
He’ll meet me with two long stem glasses
Make a toast to me coming home
‘Cause I heard Jesus he drank wine
And I bet we’d get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet he’d understand a heart like mine[9]

I’m going to end as I began – with George Strait. Psalms 19 and 119 are just two examples of Psalms that mention the importance of God’s Law and of remembering God’s faithfulness. Except, maybe, for the “I forgot” phrase, can’t you just imagine God saying this to us?

You can find a chisel, I can find a stone.
Folks will be reading these words long after we’re gone.
Baby, write this down, take a little note
to remind you in case you didn’t know,
Tell yourself I love you and I don’t want you to go,
write this down.
Take my words, read ’em every day, keep ’em close by,
don’t you let ’em fade away,
So you’ll remember what I forgot to say, write this down.[10]

[1] Aaron Barker, “Love Without End, Amen,” recorded by George Strait; from the album Livin’ It Up, 1990.
[2] Rodney Clawson and George Strait, “I Saw God Today,” recorded by George Strait; from the album Troubadour, 2008.
[3] Psalm 146:5-7, NRSV.
[4] Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis, “We Shall Be Free,” recorded by Garth Brooks; from the album the Chase, 1992.
[5] Psalm 83:13-15, NRSV.
[6] Joel Brentlinger & Jaron Lowenstien, “Pray for You,” recorded by Jaron and the Long Road to Love; from the album Getting Dressed in the Dark, 2010.
[7] Josh Kear, Mark Irwin, and Chris Tompkins, “Redneck Crazy,” recorded by Tyler Farr; from the album Redneck Crazy, 2013.
[8] Check out Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-3, and 1 Peter 2:21-25.
[9] Miranda Lambert, “Heart Like Mine,” recorded by Miranda Lambert; from the album Revolution, 2009.
[10] Dana Hunt and Kent Robbins, “Write This Down,” recorded by George Strait; from the album Always Never the Same, 1999.

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About Pastor Mary Jo

I have a passion for social justice and the outcast, marginalized members of society. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from Cal State Long Beach (2003) and a Masters of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology (2007.) I was ordained as a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – "a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world" – on August 26, 2011, the eighty-seventh anniversary of passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. I enjoy reading, especially mystery or science fiction/fantasy novels; going to movies with my spouse, Charlie; and spending time with my family – including my children, grandchildren, and dog – and my friends. My goal in life is to leave the world a better place than I found it. I cling to the fundamentals of what it means to be a Christian: Love God, and love your neighbor … or, as it was put by the Prophet Micah, “God has showed you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
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