Life in the Land of Death

I’ve had a song on repeat both in my head and on my iPhone the last few days. It’s from a group called Citizens based out of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The song is called “I am Living in a Land of Death.” And it’s so appropriate for the last few weeks looking at the wasteland of families and lives destroyed by individuals in sin and the collateral damage from that. The crumpled tissues still sit in my trash can, the notes in my binder are there, the texts following up are in my phone.

Every one of them shows the tragedy and mess that sin and life in a fallen world can produce. And that’s what makes this song by Citizens so profound, so helpful, and such an encouragement. From the cacophony of its introduction to its beautiful melodies as it climaxes in a resounding triumph of God’s grace, this song walks us through the healing, salvation, and restoration of a fallen world.

One of my favorite passages through this has been 2 Corinthians 5:14-20

For the love of Christ compels us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

I want to offer these to people going through crises, whether by your fault or if you’re suffering the collateral damage of another

  1. Jesus is enough – Whatever you’re going through, whether by choice or circumstance, Jesus is enough to bring healing, repentance, joy, and peace. Whatever we do to replace him with some other Diet Coke substitute, it never gives us the same as He does. Run to Him. Cling to Him. Call to Him. Only He is enough for your wounded heart to find relief. Only He can fill the vacuum left in your soul.
  2. Live in community – Christians are notorious for using a filthy curse word: fine. We will hide behind this veneer while everything on the inside falls apart, because we’re unwilling to let anyone in. We cannot fight the battles raging around us on our own, which is why we have the Church as a resource, support, safety net, and hospital for our wounded souls.
  3. Seek the Word – Citizens sing in their song Your law is a stream in this wasteland; my lifeline. So much more than precious gold Are Your promises my Lord By them is Your servant warned, And keeping them great reward – Don’t run from the Bible to find your peace and healing in your feelings, in some recreational escape, or even busying yourself attending church services. Seek the Word, draw from its treasure.
  4. Don’t Hide – Adam & Eve hid from God, and in the same way today we hide from our Savior and from one another for fear of how we’ll be received, that we’ll be a disappointment, or that we’ll lose something. Instead of bearing ourselves before our merciful Savior, we “trade naked and not ashamed for a better place to hide,” as Derek Webb says.
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