Devotion from the Big Easy: “Oh My God”

Last night the Youth Gathering started down in New Orleans, which means we have the beginning of our devotions. One of the songs I’ve been thinking about a lot since we got down here is a song by Jars of Clay called “Oh My God”. You can listen to the song right here.



The song is essentially divided up into 3 sections. The last one is the one that gets me. It’s the one that’s supposed to. The way it crescendoes and becomes increasingly intense and graphic leads us into a swelling of emotion. It’s heavy. Dan Haseltine, the lead singer of Jars of Clay writes about that last verse,

This is the rant.  This is why I, in that season, spoke those words.  I did not deliberate over these lyrics.  The song was only sung once in the studio.  These words were only written within seconds of singing.  This is a gut level grouping of words.  And it was a way of bringing the questions I had been storing up and forgetting about and remembering and fighting, to amplification.  And so it ends with questions, just as it started.

In the song is a grappling with the big questions that we ask as humans. Why am I here? How should I live? It’s the questions that keep us up at night. It’s the questions that make us call out to God in our distress.

In Psalm 18, we hear these words,

“In my distress I called upon
the Lord, I cried unto my
God. He heard my voice out
of His temple, and my cry
came before him…”

So when you are distressed and when you get cynical about this world… what are the things that you lament? What are the things that make you cry out to God? Is it homelessness? Is it hunger? Is it economic injustice? Is it issues of race?

Today, we don’t focus on answers. Just questions. Particularly, what makes you cry out to God? Feel free to comment and join our conversation.


Devotions from the Big Easy

So right about now, I’m down in the bayou that is New Orleans with a bunch of young people from Our Savior’s, as well as about 35,000 other Lutherans from around the country for the ELCA Youth Gathering. Over the next week, we’ll get the chance to worship together in the Superdome, get out to parts of New Orleans to learn and work with the community, and build relationships along the way. It’s going to be a pretty transformative time we’ll have together.

One essential part of our day will be to gather together for a devotion. Each day we’ll listen to a song that has to do with different components of our time in New Orleans — discipleship, justice, and peacemaking. And you’re invited to do these devotions with us!

Over the next few days, we’ll hear from bands like Jimmy Eat World, Rihanna, Jars of Clay, and the Flobots about what it means to be on a journey toward justice. We hope you’ll come along for the ride. Each day for the next five days, I’ll post the song and a little bit about what we’re talking about while we’re there and I would invite you to think about these songs — and these issues — along with us.

I hope you look forward to taking this journey with us. I know we’re excited and ready to go!

For more info on the Youth Gathering, check out their website here.


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