Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT
One of the amazing things about the journey of faith is that it is not done in isolation. There are always others involved. Sometimes a church community, sometimes a few friends, sometimes authors and songwriters and artists. Sometimes, you don’t have the faintest clue about how you’ve impacted the faith journey of another.
Andrew Peterson wrote this about the death of another singer/songwriter named Rich Mullins, whose music had a great impact on Peterson:
Three Days Before Autumn, A cold winter came
Blew in on a telephone cord, when my friend went away
And I swear I heard thunder at the sound of his name
And he never even knew me at all,
But I loved him the same
(Andrew Peterson, Three Days Before Autumn
The first time I heard that song I was struck by the lines, “And he never even knew me at all, but I loved him the same.” I knew just what Peterson was saying. There are so many who don’t know I exist, but whom I love. I could make a list of preachers whose words have taught me from afar: Erwin McManus, Bruxy Cavey, Rob Bell, Andy Stanley, Christine Cain, Barabara Brown Taylor, John Ortberg – to name a few, and in no particular order.
I could make another list of singers, songwriters and bands whose music have brought me through the various dark nights of my soul: Ginny Owens, Michael W. Smith, Caedmon’s Call, Nichole Nordeman (who featured in yesterday’s post), Larry Norman, Third Day, Casting Crowns.
All of these speakers and singers have been witnesses – surrounding me with works telling of God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s grace. God has used each of them to teach me, to encourage me, to continue the process of faith formation in me.
But when it comes to Andrew Peterson – well, he’s kind of my favourite. There’s something about the lyrics he writes and the way he composes music. I can’t tell you exactly what it is – all I know is that his music speaks directly to me. I’ve never seen him perform live, I’ve never really interacted with him. He doesn’t even know me at all. But I love him the same.
So I am excited (so excited!) for his new cd, The Burning Edge of Dawn, to release on October 9th. If you’re interested, go to the Rabbit Room website – you can pre-order the cd (and receive an instant download of three of the songs from the album -they’re beautiful!). You can also poke around the site and find many other witnesses whose art, music, and writing may just point you to God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s grace.
On your journey, may you also be surrounded by witnesses whose encouragement will help you run with endurance the race that God has set before us.