This post was written by Jordan Frye of Urban Rescue and first appeared on Urban Rescue’s website.
“In a society in which the thesaurus of metaphor and symbol has been ransacked by cynical advertisers, faithless artists, and indulgent entertainers to condition us to a maniacal but brainless devotion to me and now, how can the imagination be renewed so that we can say, honestly and personally, without necessarily raising our voices, who God is and what eternity means?” - Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder
Often literal, linear, and self-explanatory images or stories or songs can help us better understand the world around us. They clearly paint in large brushstrokes a certain truth about who we are, and provide solutions for the condition of things we may not understand.
Then there’s the work of Jackson Pollock.
Metaphorical, non-linear, and un-explanatory. There’s a deeply profound truth to be discovered within, yet without engagement, without a renewed sense of imagination, there remains to most a colorful canvas of utter mystery.
I wonder as a writer if the Church has lost to some degree that sense of imagination in worship. Have our songs become so linear, so literal, so self-explanatory that we’ve forgotten that sense of mystery, awe, and wonder about the One to whom we sing?
Eugene Peterson acknowledges that even the use of metaphor can be shipped out packaged in such a way that it loses its divine call. The “faithless artist” Peterson alludes, uses poetic form to make others feel safe and comfortable in the here and now, while the renewed artist helps people see the world beyond the now and into eternity.
In the same way a Pollock gives rise to the imagination, I want to write songs that lead people to the eternal, other, and utterly unexplainable God who in one moment is the Peace that stills the raging sea, and in the same breath burns like a wildfire – dangerously contagious and wholly uncontainable.
My prayer is that in this next season the work of Urban Rescue helps renew your holy imagination and creates a new posture of worship, awakened by the eternal mystery of our God.