Pushing Thirty

and shedding pretentions

A Soundtrack for Exile

I love the capacity that music has to take you back to a time and place.  It might be rivaled only by scents and smells.  I’ve often pontificated  on the nature of memory and how our clearest, deepest memories are tied to these two mysterious senses.

But that’s not the point of this post, except to say that Kerri Lee Smith’s new album TAKES ME BACK!

Here’s the story:  In January 2001, Brandie and I were only friends (not dating), I was planning on going to Law School when I finished my undergrad in May, and I had only heard of “Harp and Bowl.”  Then came the call of God.  I met Stephen Venable at a local prophetic worship conference hosted by a church in State College, Pa.  He invited me to join a Harp and Bowl Prayer team that he was assembling:  I was the drummer, Kevin Sliman was the bassist,  Alison played keys, Brandie and her friend Cara were the singers, Stephen prayer led and (wait for it)–

Kerri was the worship leader.

The spring of 2001 was a massive transitional season to say the least.  I interceded with this team every Friday night from 11pm to 1am (my first inklings towards the NightWatch) and the Lord unveiled his purpose for my life.  That season, full of the whispers of destiny and the pains that come along with it, will always have as a sound track the sweet laments of Kerri Smith.  The combination of Kerri’s voice and her guitar strum will pull on something deep in your heart, the ache of eternity that God has placed in all of us.  Mourning– for the Bridegroom’s return, and the sure joy’s of his coming Kingdom– will stop you dead in your tracks, and the only response will be to sigh a long sigh and whisper the  prayer, “Jesus, come quickly.”  To me, her music always embodied themes of exile and pilgrimage, and has helped me understand Psalm 137, one of the sweetest longing’s for God’s kingdom found in scripture.

Her song Unfailing Love in an attitude of nonchalance the world collapsing all around, and in the midst of overwhelming disaster, the only sure hope: God’s Love.   And for all of the songs you’ve heard about God’s love, you might  find that the backdrop of apocalypse– raging seas, and shaking mountains– will leave you with a deeper confidence in what really cannot be shaken.  My personal favorite, One Thing, was written during that dear season of worship and prayer.  But all of the songs on Kerri’s CD Songs to God comprise the set list she drew from (plus or minus) back then, and so this CD will become the jewel of my iTunes.  It holds the mystery of memory of a life-defining season of mine, and I when I play this music, I can feel the fresh yearning that I felt as a younger man.

By the summer of 2001, our little team had disbanded, and by late 2002 Brandie and I had fallen in love, gotten married, and moved to Utah.  And it wasn’t until the spring of 2005 that the Lord would meet the desire he placed in our hearts with that initial team by setting us on the wall in Kansas City, day and night, night and day. As Brandie and I celebrate our 4 year anniversary (April 20, 2005) of standing on the Wall, it was a wonderful kiss from the Lord that Kerri sent us her CD.  It is a wonderful gift, those moments in life, when you can gaze from a height back upon the road you’ve traveled, and from the vista take in the mile markers of steps trodden on the journey.  And, when you can share that kind of gift with others, well, where do I begin?

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April 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment