I Hear Them All

I just don’t think I can improve the Lent Playlist I made a few years ago (here). But I’m happy to add some tracks to it. “I Hear Them All” by The Old Crow Medicine show is a beaut (that’s Minnesotan for beautiful, amazing, wonderful). It’s also my hat tip to Noah and Genesis 9 for the First Sunday of Lent in Year B. I love David Rawlings’ tender voice and gentle guitar in this version, though the live mash up with “This Land is Your Land” is quite a gem too (here). I first heard “I Hear Them All” at the Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings concert in Fargo, ND in 2012. I went by myself and sat in the third row because Colin was at the National Youth Gathering. I think he was taking in the Switchfoot concert. I’m sure it was fine, but Gillian and Dave? They. Were. Amazing. This song, like many, stuck with me. It’s gentle but strong. It offers prophetic preaching without being, well, preachy. It’s–sorry–authentic. It’s often my prayer when things are bleak in the world. That is to say, it is often my prayer. This line? Gets me. Every. Time.

I hear leaders quit their lyin’ I hear babies quit their cryin’ I hear soldiers quit their dyin’ One and all I hear them all I hear them all I hear them all

To hear them all. Can it be done? Well, no. But to hear the other in need, yes. We trust that God hears, that God listens, that God is close to the brokenhearted. Pastor Kevin Bergeson tweeted this verse a few years ago; it has become one that I keep on hand. Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

This is the theology of the cross. God meets us in the messy middle. In the broken. In the worn out. In the meek. In the pain. On the cross. There is no where that God is not, especially for those who are hungry, oppressed, in prison, in grief, in captivity. With Kayla’s family, and with the families of Deah, Yusor and Razan. With the families of the 43 students who have been missing for months in Mexico. For the poorest refugees of Palestine who have to live on less this month because the United Nations Relief Works Agency did not meet their budget. With the people of Nigeria and Syria. With parents and babies in the NICU. God hears them all, God hears them all, God hears them all. And God calls us to listen too. I’ll see you at the table when we’re called. But until then, may we listen the voices of those in need, ourselves, others, and the God who brings us together.

Lyrics:

I hear the crying of the hungry In the deserts where they’re wandering Hear them crying out for Heaven’s own Benevolence upon them

Hear destructive power prevailin’ I hear fools falsely hailin’ To the crooked wits of tyrants When they call

I hear them all I hear them all I hear them all

I hear the sounds of tearing pages And the roar of burnin’ paper All the crimes and acquisitions Turned to air and ash, and vapor

And the rattle of the shackle Far beyond emancipator And the lowliest Who gather in their stalls

I hear them all I hear them all I hear them all

So while you sit and whistle, ‘Dixie’ With your money and your power I can hear the flowers growin’ In the rubble of the towers

I hear leaders quit their lyin’ I hear babies quit their cryin’ I hear soldiers quit their dyin’ One and all

I hear them all I hear them all I hear them all

I hear the tender words from Zion I hear Noah’s water fall Hear the gentle Lamb of Judah Sleeping at the feet of Buddha

And the Prophets from Elijah To the old Paiute Wovoka Take their places at the table When they’re called

I hear them all I hear them all I hear them all

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