Bright Hopes!

So I’ve been doing some reading this winter and out of that has come a song. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, so to me it comes as a breath of fresh air. Some of my reading has focused on two articles in the winter issue of Image Magazine (Number 67). Both of these articles are based around the artwork of Georges Rouault.

Rouault is a French artist from around the turn of the century – 1871-1958. Shunned (or forgotten) by art critics and the academic world since the flattening of the acceptable art world by Picasso and the two-dimensionality of Andy Warhol’s pop art movement, Rouault’s works are impossible to photograph. This renders them useless or, at least, under-appreciated in the virtual-reality we live in today.

In addition to his art being visually difficult for our times, his themes of finding hope among darkness flies in the face of existentialism and mid-century nihilism. He presents the deep Christian themes of hope, love and compassion using the subject matter of prostitutes and skid-row families. His faith led him to painterly meditations on those marginalized by society and, especially, on their suffering…

At Jacob’s Well, we’ve been focused on living life more missionally. Rouault’s Miserere series, with its images of the veil of Veronica speaks strongly to that kind of life. In mediaeval legend, “Veronica is a woman who wiped Jesus’ face on the way to the cross. Her cloth miraculously took no the imprint of his face, and she herself was mysteriously transformed into an image of Christ (that is, into a “true image” – the traditional etymology of “Veronica”). Just as Christ took on our likeness, Veronica (and potentially all of us) can take on his. So there is an invitation implicit in these images: as Christ identified with the suffering of the world, you, me, and all of us are called to go into the darkness…”

While I was in the midst of reading these articles, I was also reading a book by Phillip Yancy called The Bible Jesus Read. This reading contained two quotes that finally triggered the song that follows. They are both observations of the Psalms and as we head into the season of Lent are particularly powerful.

“We may experience times of unusual closeness, when prayers are answered in an obvious way and God seems intimate and caring. We may also experience dark times, when God stays silent, when nothing works according to formula and all the Bible’s promises seem glaringly false. Fidelity involves learning to trust that, out beyond the perimeter of darkness, God still reigns and has not abandoned us, no matter how it may appear.

And a second quote:

“Here is what Psalms can do for a person in distress. In 1977, at the height of the Cold Way, Anatoly Shcharansky, a brilliant young mathematician and chess player, was arrested by the KGB for his repeated attempts to immigrate to Israel. He spent Thirteen years inside the Soviet Gulag. From morning to evening Shcharansky read and studied all 150 psalms (in Hebrew). ‘What does this give me?’ he asked in a letter: ‘Gradually, my felling of great loss and sorrow changes to one of bright hopes.’”

So there you go…that’s how I got to this one —> Bright Hopes!

Bright Hopes! by mc (Feb 2011)

We will worship You

In the  brightest of our days

We will thank You for abundance


As we praise Your name

In the darkest of our nights

Will you give us eyes to see You there


You strengthen us though darkness hides

The warming power of the sun

You are our hope  —  You never fade

Your presence flows throughout our lives


We will worship You

In the brightest of our days

We will thank You for Your goodness


As we praise Your name

In the darkest of our nights

Will you help us see You hidden there


We will shout with joy

Even though we shake with fear

We will lift your name with singing


And when troubles come

As indeed they surely must

Will You give us pails to bail our boats


You shine through us as nighttime tries

To quench the burning of the sun

Your dawn erupts with nature’s sound

We stand with all creation’s song


If we’d but look   —  We’d surely see

The markers which You woo us with

They’re ever there but we’re asleep

Oh Jesus will You wake us up?


This night seems long  —  This death seems black

You stand beyond the reach of both

Our earthbound minds can’t comprehend

And so they get the best of us


tell me – why is it so hard for us to

see You – even as we catch a glimpse it

slips thru –  just as we were gaining ground we

undo – all the ways You’re working in our lives

yet You are always working in our lives

why are we so seemingly surprised


That,    1 – You never give up on us

2 – You never walk out on us

3 – You never lose sight of us

4 – You never stop loving us


You change our sorrows to bright hopes

You change our madness to bright hopes

You change our lonely to bright hopes

You change our bitter to bright hopes


You change our tanking You change our quitting

You change our faithless You change our worry

You change our worthless You change our hurry

You change our brittle You change our broken


You change us! You change us! Bright Hopes!

You change us! You change us! Bright Hopes!


You are always working in our lives

Help us see You working in our lives

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3 Comments

  1. Allen Sosa
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Only 8 seconds downloaded!

    God Bless,
    Allen

  2. Ali Ebright
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Was just looking up the lyrics for this. Didn’t realize it was one of your originals (thought I heard it was by someone else)!! Such a great song — it has been in my head for a few weeks. :)

  3. Jennifer
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful picture of God’s power, grace and utmost sufficiency in our lives, everyday, all the time, in our darkness, in our striving and in our joy.

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