The Weaver of Time, draft/demo

I was counting it up the other day, and I’ve been on six Cardiphonia compilations. Bruce Benedict and his merry band have introduced hundreds of songs to the Church, many of which wouldn’t have been written otherwise. I’m thinking about this because the deadline for #7 is fast approaching.

This time the theme is canticles. Most of the songwriters gravitated quickly toward scriptures like the Magnificat (Mary’s song) or the Benedictus (Simeon’s song). Easy canticles. Ha! I scoff at you weaklings, taking the low road! Me, I ended up choosing the Song of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:10-20).

You’ll remember that Hezekiah was told he would die, but he prayed for reprieve, reminding the Lord of his faithfulness. God sent Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that his prayer had been heard and that he would give him 15 more years of life. In response, Hezekiah sang a song of thanksgiving. I was drawn to the way this canticle boldly reminds God that “dead people don’t praise the Lord.” I liked how it connected with standard formulas of lament in the Psalms, and mirrored Christ’s descent into death and resurrection.

As I experimented with it, I decided to dedicate a verse to Hezekiah, a verse to Psalm 22, and a verse to I Corinthians. You can see the draft PDF, hear a one-take demo MP3, or read the lyrics below. I’d appreciate any feedback you have before I begin to record this for real. This is one of those instances where I think I’m either on to something or so far down a rabbit hole that I don’t know which way is up.

1. Isaiah 38:10-20
The Weaver of Time had measured my life
in hours rather than years.
My nights grew long and my days became frayed
As the end of the thread came near.

My desperate soul took one last look to the heavens.
My final glimpse of the sky.
My final cry in the land of the living.
My final plea to the Lord of Life.

Death cannot praise you, O God of my days,
And pain only curses your name.
From this pit of despair I cry out, “Lord, raise me up!”
I will praise your name.

2. Psalm 22
Forsaken, forgotten, so far from my God.
Is silence an answer to prayer?
Surrounded, insulted and scorned on all sides,
My hope had melted in fear.

But you, O Lord, are the hope of your people.
My father’s faith was not vain.
My mother’s womb made a home for your Spirit.
Lord, in your love, give me life again.

All who descend to the dust will bow down.
All nations will bend to God’s fame.
But my prayer is that of the poor one lifted up.
I will praise your name.

3. I Cor 15:35-58
What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Death has been swallowed by life evermore.
The serpent of sin has no sting.
Dark days of despair now give way to glorious light.
I will praise your name.

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