My wife and I have been listening to some songs by Jason Gray that have captured my imagination. The title of two of his songs comes from a passage of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King (the context: Sam believes that Gandalf has died. At the very end, Sam having slept for quite a while and then coming to consciousness, Gandalf stands before Sam, robed in white, his face glistening in the sunlight, and says):
“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”
But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”
“A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from bed… “How do I feel?” he cried.” Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel” –he waved his arms in the air– “I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!
All the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”
This is such a beautiful description of what Jesus is up to in my story and in the story of the world around me – everything sad is coming untrue! Listen to what Jason Gray has to say about the reasoning behind his lyrics (see link below):
The beauty of those words rang so many bells inside of me: the idea not that everything sad is untrue (which would be a cruel invalidation of our present sorrows) – nor that everything will come untrue someday (which reduces the hope of redemption to mere wishful thinking) – but that somehow, even right now in the face of the saddest that we see, the seeds of its undoing are sown. In fact, they were sown the day the body of Jesus, like a seed himself, was laid in the ground. What took root on Easter is the undoing of the curse, and it is flowering all around us if we have eyes to see it.
I take hope in the fact that today contains the seeds of the “undoing of all sadness,” and that God invites me to participate.
Click here for more and for a listen!