So, I watched this on YouTube, and wept. (silently, behind a closed door, because of that one time my kids found me crying in the laundry room and narced on me) I love this song. Love it! (Except for the line with the wobbly doctrine that makes me twitch. Does no one read the Westminster Confession anymore?!) Anyway, in case you didn’t immediately hop over to YouTube, the link is worship leader Travis Cottrell singing ‘What A Beautiful Name’ with his teenage daughter. At the drop they do a mash-up with ‘Agnus Dei’ and gave me ALL THE FEELS. Here’s why:
I met Travis Cottrell when Beth Moore came to town years ago. He showed us a cute picture of his toddler daughter and told stories of his five year-old son crushing on his kindergarten teacher. At the time, I could hardly imagine having a child as old as a kindergartener, because I was great with child. How great? So great that when I tried to boogie to one of the upbeat songs, my friends made me sit down in case the baby fell out. Fast forward the blink of an eye and now Travis’s toddler daughter is recording music with her dad and killing it at the mic. What? How? How did that happen?!
Old people at the grocery store tell you to treasure the moments with your little kids because time flies. You charitably do not tell them where to fugit their tempis, because the truth is that the years might fly by but the days go by soooooo slooooooly, and you do not need sweet adages, you need free babysitting. But it’s true. Fast forward the blink of an eye and the child in my womb the night Travis Cottrell led worship just woke up and shoveled the entire driveway for me.
And then they had the nerve to do a mash-up with ‘Agnus Dei’? Michael W. Smith’s ‘Agnus Dei’?! When I was a teenager, Michael W. Smith wasn’t a worship leader, he was a Christian rock star with the same dreamy blue eyes as Kirk Cameron. I’m not claiming that if you have a good experience with a song, it means the song is verifiably good. But this song…man, we used to sing it in the car on the way back from retreats in Northern Maine, harmonizing, buzzing on youth that was not, at least for us, wasted on the young. So when I heard the two songs smushed together, I marveled at what God hath wrought in my life over the last 30 years. Gratitude is a slippery slope to joy. Cue the waterworks.
I’m not advocating for nostalgia. “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Ecc. 7:10 Remembrance can be a powerful work in our minds, but only if we let it fuel our hope, our gratitude, and our worship. If we allow it to feed regret and discontent, we’re sunk. The Israelites were commanded to set aside feast days specifically to remember how God rescued them out of Egypt. Jesus commanded His disciples to break bread together in remembrance of Him. But even if you look back and are smacked with woe, you are not obliged to stay there. Look at Lamentations 3:19-24:
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Our portion is not affliction, wandering, bitterness, gall, sin, regret, shame, or any other dead thing that used to define us. The Lord is our portion! I hope that’s good news to you today. I hope you grab a notebook and fill it with all the things you’re grateful for, even as you are baffled at the passage of linear time. I hope you find the courage to peek back at the songs you used to love and declare their truths louder, now that you have Seen Some Stuff and can really verify that the Lord is good. Maybe you will even write a friend and say, “Holy is the lamb! Holy is the lamb!” and they will know what you mean and write back, “Amen.”