Saturday, March 26, 2011

A sturdy shelter

A few days ago I was looking up a song on youtube, and in the "suggested videos" box it listed a song by Jars of Clay. If you know me well, you may know that I first fell in love with Jars of Clay when I heard them sing from their album Redemption Songs, and actually in the span of about two years I think I saw them in concert three times! I think.

The song that youtube suggested to me, however, was not from this album but from their most recent one entitled "The Shelter," which I unfortunately have not had the pleasure of buying. Well, Providence must have played a part in youtube suggestions in that moment, because hearing "The Shelter" was exactly what I needed to reflect on this week. Jars of Clay has posted on their website a video explaining what the song means to them, and according to the guys, "Shelter was born out of an old Irish phrase that says, 'It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.'"

I approve of the Irish-ness.

Throughout the song, a chorus echoes the words "In the shelter of each other/ we will live/ we will live." What a beautiful reflection on the shelter that God has given us in each other and in the Church! I am truly thankful for the shelter that God has provided me here in New Orleans, the friends and family who have enabled me to make it through this very trying year. Without them, the storm of this life would surely have beaten me down. In reflecting on my own shelter, I am reminded of the words from Sirach 6:
14 A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter;
he who finds one finds a treasure.
15 A faithful friend is beyond price,
no sum can balance his worth.
16 A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy,
such as he who fears God finds;
17 For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
and his friend will be like himself.
Indeed the Lord has placed so many faithful friends in my life that this shelter He has built around me is a bit more like a fortress than a mere lean-to! And praise Him for that, because the storm outside is ravaging my doorstep. The lyrics of the song continue to speak to me in this place:
May this place of rest in the fold of your journey
Bind you to hope
You will never walk alone
If there is any peace
If there is any war
We must all believe
Our lives are not our own
We all belong

God has given us each other
And we will never walk alone
So if you're ever feeling alone, give a friend a call and give this song a listen. May the hope and the peace that this truth has given me speak to your own heart in times of trouble.

Give the song a listen here. Then continue reading!

In examining the Jars of Clay website, I have discovered that they are going on tour, feating special guests Derek Webb and Audrey Assad! You have no idea how excited I was about this. They are coming down South in the first week of May to play shows in Niceville, FL (Rebecca!); Lake Charles, LA; and Jackson, MS. I desperately want to go to the show in Jackson (because it's on a Saturday and is the closest one to New Orleans. So who's in? We can go ahead and buy tickets now on the website! Prices range from $25 to $35.

I also want to share with you this incredibly joyful song which I found posted on the Jars of Clay website, featuring MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Matt Maher, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Afters, and Lecrae (you’re welcome Mr. Brian!).

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