Bubble gum and peanut butter: Month three of the Six-month prayer challenge

January 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

If you remain in Me and if My words remain in you, ask whatever you will…
John 15:7

I confess that I’m not big on memorizing Bible verses. I’ve always been in awe of people who can repeat an entire poem or a passage of scripture at the drop of a hat. I don’t know if my brain isn’t wired to memorize or if its an activity that is best done when you’re ten years old, but I find it hard to do. Yet I know it’s a good thing. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He responded with scripture He had stored up in His heart.

So I was in a quandary as I reflected on John 15:7-8, which I’m doing as part of the Six-month Prayer Challenge [http://snacksfromthecruisebuffet.blogspot.com/2009/11/six-month-challenge.html]: And My words remain in you. Then I remembered a CD of kids’ praise songs I bought a few years ago, “Seeds of Praise”, which has a dozen short and simple songs with Bible verses for words.

La-dee-dah, tum-tum-tum, yeah, yeah. These catchy songs have been bouncing around in my head with their easy melodies and repetitive words. Bubble gum music, peanut butter songs that stick to the roof of my mind, contemporary Gregorian chants if you will. These spiritual pop songs have done the trick.

There are four other CDS in this Seeds of Worship series: Seeds of Faith, Seeds of Purpose, Seeds of Courage, and Seeds of Encouragement. [You can download them on Amazon’s MP3 site, or order them from the Seeds website: http://www.seedsmusicstore.com/ ]
That’s about 50 verses, though I have to say that listening to an entire CD is usually too much for me. How many spoonfuls of peanut butter can you eat straight from the jar? But if I listen to a two or three songs, I find them coming back to me in the odd empty moments.

One day having breakfast in Thailand with Sam who is almost 3, we sang along to a few songs. Truth be told, we may have even boogied to the music together. Then I went off into my day and promptly forgot all about what I had listened to. In the late afternoon, we visited a park with hot springs. The rest of the family went off after an extensive without any discussion about when or where we’d meet up. I was tired and hungry. I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have a pen and paper. I didn’t have any money, didn’t know the language.** The only thing I had was a camera and three-month old Jeff in the baby bjorn [thankfully sleeping]. I was feeling just a tad grumpy and put out. All I could do was walk around the small road that circled around the park and try to console myself with how beautiful the scenery was.


Samkhaempeng Hotsprings


But there comes a time when beautiful scenery can’t cheer you up. Then, out of nowhere, one of the songs I had listened to that morning came into my mind. “O God you are my God….” I couldn’t remember all the words but I improvised, sticking a la-dee dah when needed. The song didn’t miraculously change my mood but it kept me going for four long laps around the park until I could get some food and rest.

Simple songs, catchy melodies running on endless replay, the music weaving the words into my soul. Nothing profound or sophisticated, just kids’ music. Sometimes that’s what I need, like a rocking chair to calm me and quiet me, letting the Word feed me down deep.

**In case you have any doubt about the power of song, as I was writing about the afternoon in the park when I didn’t have any money and didn’t know the language, words from another song came to me: “He doesn’t speak the language, He holds no currency.”

That’s from Paul Simon’s “Call me Al”:

A man walks down the street,
It’s a street in a strange world.
Maybe it’s the Third World.
Maybe it’s his first time around.
He doesn’t speak the language,
He holds no currency.
He is a foreign man,
He is surrounded by the sound, sound ….
Cattle in the marketplace.
Scatterlings and orphanages.
He looks around, around …..
He sees angels in the architecture,
Spinning in infinity,
He says, Amen! and
Hallelujah!

the market at Myawaddy, Myanmar

Twenty some years ago when the Graceland album came out, I listened to this song a lot. Eventually though it got pushed to the bottom of the pile to make way for newer music. In the last decade, I don’t think I’ve heard “Call Me Al’ a half dozen times. But here it is, bubbling up all the same, a great illustration of how lyrics can remain in us long after the music stops playing.

Listen well and be sustained.


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