I go running and my iPod starts preaching at me again

Once again, my iPod seems to be preaching to me.

Artist Beki Hemingway has a song called “Mary’s Song”  (which she sings with Erik’s friend from Marquette, Jonathan Rundman. It’s Mary’s perspective on what it means to be Jesus’ mother–and not the normal aw-isn’t-baby-Jesus-sweet-it’s-such-an-honor-to-be-his-Mom kind of stuff:

Joseph had a dream
I guess we’re on the move again
Strange as it may seem
I do believe you speak to him
And so…here we go

Lord, I am your servant
If you lead, I will go
Where you are, wherever you take me
Is where I’ll be ’cause that’s my home

It’s more about what this means in her life–that she now has to follow Jesus and it’s not always easy.

Since I first heard this song, it’s made me think of ministry—that God often asks us to go to places we hadn’t thought of going, and that as long as we go where God calls, we’ll be home.

It sounds nice and religious on paper, but it can be hard. If you are a frequently moved person, you know that it can make you feel rootless. I’ve been thinking about this a little bit lately: a few kids from my youth group have moved; one of my sisters has relocated to Europe; my brother is moving back to Chicago (yay!); and now my parents are moving to a different condo. Someone asked me how I felt about my parents moving and I had to explain to them that it wasn’t the same as for many people my age when their parents move out of the house where thew grew up because I didn’t grow up there, and there’s no one house that is that growing-up place for me. I’ve realized that I tend to think of home as the place were my family is. It’s more about them than it is about location. (OK, plus my parents are moving to a really fabulous location. I’m perfectly willing to adopt their new spot as home, since it comes with A BEACH!!)

But, there’s still that rootless thing. So, yesterday morning, I’m running, and the iPod hits me with “Mary’s Song”, and I’m thinking, “Yep, how true, I hear you Mary…”

And then this song by Mindy Smith shuffles up, “Tennessee”. (And, I cannot find lyrics…so bear with me, OR, better yet, go listen to the song…same thing goes for the previously mentioned one.) It’s a song about finding home in the place where you wind up being planted. (And, I wonder, is it any coincidence that Mindy Smith is a pastor’s daughter?) “It’s been ten long years and I’m rooted in your soul.”

And as I’m listening to this, I’m wondering if I’m becoming rooted in this place where I am now. And getting a little teary.

When I was in college, I remember my choir director working with us on an arrangement of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” We kept returning to one word toward the end—home. Over and over and over again, which seemed pretty foolish since it was a technically difficult piece to sing and by the time we got to that last phrase all of the really terrible technical parts were through. But we kept going over that last phrase, again and again and again:

Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

He told us that we had to love that word, to sing it with every bit of tenderness and longing that we could muster up, because it was the most important word in the phrase, and because “home” holds such meaning.

Anti-Spread Campaign Update: several walks to the pool, a short bike ride, and a few runs later, we’re down to 4783.4 left before I get to Rome.

3 Responses to “I go running and my iPod starts preaching at me again”

  1. susan Says:

    thanks for sharing Erica. I resonate personally.

    and then I wonder, how to we tend to this question and longing for ourselves and in turn for those with whom we minister? Is belonging to a church a home? Should we aspire for a congregation to function as a home?

  2. Erik Says:

    I’ll plug Jonathan; you can find his stuff at his website, including some nice (free) MP3 samples. (And FWIW, he’s from Ishpeming.) :-)

  3. Katherine Says:

    I’m definitely going to have to check out that song. And I love Mindy Smith.

    You might really like Sandra McCracken, too. She’s one of my favorites. “The Builder and the Architect” is a gorgeous album.

    I’m more on a spread campaign now… finally starting to show a little more!