I’m gonna rise up singing because joy is mine.
I recently saw an image going around the internet of a page from an inspirational Bible quote calendar. It quotes Luke 4:7, “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” The caption reads, “Less inspirational if you know who said it” (Hint: He’s sometimes called ‘the father of lies’).
Catholics are not known for proclaiming a “health and wealth” gospel. If anything, we crucifix-wearing Catholics sometimes have the tendency to get stuck on Good Friday. We are taught not to run from and despair in the face of suffering, but to unite that suffering to Christ’s passion on the cross.
In the midst of our trials, though, we must not lose our joy. That’s what Sarah’s Hart “Joy In These Bones” is about: joy in the midst of our suffering and brokenness. In an interview with Christopher Closeup, Hart expanded on the message of the song, “I think that we forget sometimes that the joy of Christ and the joy of the resurrection is something that once we believe, once we adhere our soul to it, it is something that cannot be taken away from us.”
“We act like it can, we act like joy is a circumstantial thing,” she continues. “But really, joy is so much deeper than that. Happiness maybe, contentment maybe, is a circumstantial thing. But joy itself is not circumstantial.”
Hart’s message of joy is not light and fluffy. It’s not idealistic, nor is it a return to the health and wealth gospel, the idea that if you worship God you will be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Her album Above Earth’s Lamentation, a journey through grief, proves otherwise. “Praying With a Broken Heart,” which came out of the grief at the loss of a loved one, is especially raw.
She continues the trek through our fallen world in her latest album, Til the Song is Sung in songs like “Because I Want and End” and “Carry.”
So how is it that this singer can go from “I got bruises on my heart and on my soul, wounds of war within this blood and in my chest” to “I got joy in these bones” in the same song? How does such a realist maintain her joy?
Because she is also a realist when it comes to the gospel: “Joy is born of the knowledge that God has sacrificed everything for us, even Himself for us, to prove His love for us, and we are that love. That is really the essence of Christian joy,” answers Hart.
You can find Sarah Hart’s music on iTunes.
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