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Lenten Lights II ~ “Pray to the One I Love”

I don’t mean to over simplify this Holy Week. In fact the emotional and spiritual logic of it is irreducible. It’s a story strange and unique unto itself. But when I boil down the Jesus story of that final week, I see a story about love. Because even stories about righteousness, or truth or salvation, are nothing without love. In the beginning was the word and the word became flesh and lived with us in love. And the incarnation of Jesus was neither a beginning nor an ending, but a way through to living participation in the very life of God. Most simply it seems to me Jesus died at the end of holy week because of profound and generous love. There are political explanations and theological ones, yet the most compelling story – this holy Monday – is how the story of love played itself out and Jesus laid down his life for his friends in love.


This music video “From This Valley” is sung by the Civil Wars. Joy Williams and John Paul White began working together and recorded their music in the neighborhood. I like their edginess. Their brokenness. The soul wrenching honesty of their lyrics. Their heartbreaking sound (like around the 2:20 – 2:40 mark in this video). The song seemed just perfect for this week. . . its longing and its hope . . . orphans . . . outcasts . . . desert and river . . . mountains and passion. In our very particular experiences we are connected to all the stories of hope and love, disappointment and betrayal, grief and celebration at the loose ends of our lives. So . . . pray, pray, pray, dear ones. Pray to the one you love.


2 thoughts on “Lent XXXV”

  1. Thanks for this meditation. The “Civil Wars” are one of my favorites, for precisely the reasons you name in this post. My daughter turned me on to them via “Barton Hollow” (both song and album). As I watched this powerful video, I was reminded of another song that has a similar expression. It is by a sister & brother led group called the “Oh Hellos”, and comes from their only album called “Through the Deep Dark Valley.” The song is “The Valley” and both opens and closes the album. These are the lyrics:

    we were born in the valley of the dead and the wicked
    that our father’s father found
    and where we laid him down
    we were born in the shadow of the crimes of our fathers
    blood was our inheritance
    no, we did not ask for this

    will you lead me?

    we were young when we heard you call our names in the silence
    like a fire in the dark
    like a sword upon our hearts
    we came down to the water and we begged for forgiveness
    shadows lurking close behind
    we were fleeing for our lives

    will you lead me?

    Here’s a link to give it a listen:

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