It was about 3 years ago, in the midst of a particularly stressful time in life and ministry. A lot of things weren't making sense, and I was struggling to find my way through. Answers weren't coming very easily. A lot of people around me wanted solutions that were exclusive of one another. I was feeling worn down and more than a little hopeless. I sat at my desk, figuratively beating my head against a wall, wondering if there was a way out of all the pain.
And then a friend walked in, saying "I have something for you." He told me to move from behind my desk, and sit in one of the comfy chairs I usually reserve for guests. Then he walked over to the CD player in the corner, and put in a CD.
"Now," he said, "just close your eyes and listen."
And he played this song.
(if you want the full effect, do the same. Close your eyes. The pictures are nice enough, but can distract from the power of the ancient words Alison is singing)
It was, of course, exactly what I needed, although I didn't know it until then. To get outside of all the pain and chaos and tribulation, and rest. To rest my mind, my heart, and my soul. To stop, and just be.
And to be reminded that the answer wouldn't be found in the complexity of it all. Even, that there's no shame in walking away from the problem. That, perhaps, too much pride was at stake in figuring it all out. And that, maybe, it was time to place it back in God's hands, where it should have been in the first place.
It is also the perfect blend of instruments, the simplicity of voice and cello, Alison's sweet, rich, hopeful lyrics over Yo Yo Ma's thick, complex, soul-stirring counter-melody. The arrangement itself reminds us of the truth that less is more.
Why do we strive? Why do we grasp? What's left but to rest, and trust in the almighty hand of God.
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend we will not be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight,
'til by turning, turning we come round right.