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

3 thoughts on “Bright Hopes!

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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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