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Song Bios for “Giver of Life”

 

 

New Song ***Forever Home***

This song was inspired by the phrase “Forever home.” This was a theme in a memorial service to celebrate the life of a friend from my church who I also had the privilege of caring for as a Palliative care physician. I loved the phrase and so the song deals with some of the transience of our physical human lives in the light of the unchangingness and transcendence of God. The more I see of life and death, the more I realize that if our hope is placed solely in the natural and our trust is solely in our humanity we are not necessarily holding on to something that will sustain us through the storms of life when they come.

 

Is There any hope for me?

A song full of questions. One that reflects the thoughts we may have reflecting on the life we have had and looking forward to the unknown. Interestingly this song was written in the context of someone who was approaching the end of their physical life, but I have found that people in many other situations have resonated with it. It is clear that we have meny brushes with death in our lives. Maybe the physical death of someone close to us, or the loss of our health, a relationship, our mobility or even our freedom. I have been involved with doing some ministry in Prison and have been amazed at the faith and the insight into life that many of the men I have met there have. Clearly they have had to die to many things that we take for granted in the world outside the prison system and yet in some ways have a fuller understanding of freedom. In essence I realised that in all the questions we may have about life and death, and lets face it there are many of those, the only real hope comes from Jesus.

It’s OK have questions and it’s OK to ask them.

What would you say?

This song came from an exercise that I was asked to do at a conference I attended. The exercise is a good one to do for yourselves. The plan was to draw a line that represented your life and place on it a mark that represented where abouts on the time line you thought you were. At this point you were to reflect on the time left and to state the things that were important to you and that were priorities to do in the time you had left.

The second part of this exercise was to do the same thing, but move the point to within 6 months of the end of life. I was amazed at the way my priorities changed and the things that had been important that no longer were. Interesting to know!!?

The longer I live, the more I realise how fragile we are and that how things can change in an instant. Maybe living in a way that reflects this fragility is a good way to live. Not in a morbid sense but one that tells those I love that I love them, that tries where it is up to me to live in peace with others, resolving our conflicts. Maybe more importantly walking humbly with my God through this life and into the next.

Dying to know you

This song came from the phrase “I’m dying to know you!” As a song writer and lyricist I love language and the use of words. I am particularly fond of words that have multiple meanings. This phrase set me off thinking about how much of God could I know this side of death/ eternity? I figured that I didn’t know but that it was a task that was worthy of a life’s commitment. I know that He wants us to pursue Him and wants to be found. That He wants intimacy with us and desires our hearts and love freely given.

I know that this physical life is important and that relatively speaking it is short. I know that we are fragile physically and yet we are intimately created, woven together and loved by our creator (Psalm 139) There is part of us that is for this world and that this life is important. There is also part of us that is eternal, our soul/ spirit that goes on beyond this life that we yet know into an eternal life beyond the grave. It is this part of us that longs for our eternal home and somehow knows there is more to life than what we currently experience. Cherish this moment, but live into eternity.

Divine Romance

This song came from the wedding vows and is another song I wasn’t sure could be done or not initially! It began with the line “Forsaking all others” which is really the heart of God’s call to us. He is a “jealous” God who wants our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Not to overpower or force us to submit, but to cherish and romance us with gentleness, patience and tenderness. This is an opportunity for the Bride of Christ (the Church) to sing her devotion to her Husband-Jesus, and to pledge faithfulness through life and beyond. The call to intimacy with our lover echoes through all of history-the invitation to the dance, to this Divine Romance.

Giver of Life

This song is a Co-write with my good friend Brian Doerksen and is also on his album Level Ground, in a different arrangement. It has been a joy over the years to write songs together, to join our melodies and different vocabularies as well as life experiences. This song essentially is God’s invitation to come to him with all the things we don’t understand and through our grief and suffering. He is the real “Giver of life” and promises to walk with us, comfort us and draw us close to Him through all the miles and trials that we face. He is the resurrection and the life and is able to breath His life into all that we do and experience.

Window of comfort

The title of this song comes from a medical phrase referring to the effective dosing of medications used for pain relief. There is a window between the effective dose and one that starts to cause adverse effects. There was something in the phrase that set me thinking beyond the medical usage of the term. Windows bring light to a room and they also provide ability to see out as well as providing shelter from the weather outside our homes. Home is a concept we are familiar with and has features of rest, safety, a place we are known.

The song provides imagery of both a journey and a homecoming. This journey is one that we can walk with God, initially maybe reluctantly “in the days of our youth” but that ultimately we were never designed or intended to stay. This human body was always designed to be transient, but our relationship with God and our ultimate destination in His house is forever.

I’m alive

This song comes from Psalm 139 which is one of my favorite Psalms. I have always been struck by the uniqueness of each one of us; the miracle and the mystery of life, the complexity of the human body and despite our best scientific efforts (yes even as a Doctor!) we still understand so very little really. Each level of discovery in genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, imaging etc simply shows us more of the incredible design, how we are “woven together” in our mothers womb (Psalm 139:15). I realized that the reason I am alive is because I am known and I am loved by my heavenly Father. In fact I was known before a single day of my life came to be.

It may seem a little strange to be singing “I’m alive” on an album focused on the end of life, but for me that is really the point I hope this CD is making. There is life in life and there is life beyond life. I hope the up tempo-ness (if that’s even a word) is not a problem for you in this context but maybe there is room for confidently stating in the presence of our human frailty that ” I am known, I am loved and I’m alive!” Not primarily through the actions of our parents, although that was clearly part of it, but through the design and plan of a loving heavenly Father.

Rest in You

It is clear through scripture that we are truly known by God. It is only our reluctance at times that stands in the way of a much deeper and more intimate relationship with Him.
That I guess is certainly true of me as much as anyone. This song wonders what my heart would look like and feel if I truly embraced the love, hope and joy that reside in the arms of God. How differently would I approach my life and the end of my life if I truly believed what I know of heaven and the life to come fully in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Isaiah 49:16 says “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
Maybe this is a prophetic foreshadowing of what it would cost Jesus a few hundred years later and alludes to the scars of crucifixion. Maybe if we really got this, we would be able to truly live life as it was intended.

You are the hope (In the shadow of death)

This is my attempt to sing Psalm 23, perhaps the best known Psalm of all.
A friend of mine who works with the homeless population of Vancouver had said that when she was involved with funerals, often the two things that were chosen for the service were Psalm 23 and Amazing Grace. We have tried to reflect this in the album we have produced. Something that is known and familiar is very important, especially when we are traveling unfamiliar roads.

Psalm 23 speaks of the “valley shadowed with death” and I realized that for their to be a shadow somewhere there has to be light present. Shadows do not occur in the absence of light. I have also realized that as a Palliative Care physician I and my colleagues go to work each day in this valley. The light from my perspective is that of Jesus who waits to hold your hand and guide your steps through this difficult terrain. He is the hope in the valley.

Let me carry you home

This was the song that started it all! It came from a time spent with a patient in his 50s with an advanced cancer. We talked and as so often happens at this stage of life he had many existential question ie questions around human existence, life and death etc.
I realised that I didn’t really have some of the answers he was looking for and maybe stumbled around a bit. He had asked me to pray with him which I did.

I had hoped we would be able to talk more, but due to disease progression and medication that never happened. I wrote this song that contained some of what I would have liked to have said. It was at this point that I began to realise the power of music and song. That people can listen and respond to music way beyond the time where conversation is possible. It was this that started me writing these songs and beginning the recording process. He never did hear this song, but I hope it brings some light to others in a similar situation.

Remember you.

This song was written following the death of a friend suddenly in a car crash and seeing the pain, grief and suffering that his wife and family went through and continue to. The strength and the bravery of them all that was both an inspiration and a challenge to me.

I came to realize that however prepared for such a loss we may feel we are, it will always come as a huge shock. How do we continue our relationship after we are separated, how do we remember when the memories cause as much pain as the absence. We always knew that one day we would be separated through death, but we never knew how long we had.

For Myron and Gillian.

Welcome Home

My sense is that life has many similarities to a Marathon race. Paul uses this analogy.
The race starts with energy and enthusiasm, it is a long race and has many different parts to it. There are times when we are feeling strong and encourage others, times when we need to be encouraged to continue. There are times when it feels we are running alone and times when the burden is shared by running with others.

I have always been struck by what happens when the runners see the stadium they are running toward and eventually enter for the final lap. The crowd begins to cheer and we see a new spring in the step and the runner finally goes down the finishing straight to receive the prize.

This seems pretty close to running the race of life, to hear the great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1) cheering and to run into the arms of the Father to hear “well done, welcome home”

Gets me every time I see it, something to look forward to!