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My Search for Joy in the Presence of the Future

A few years ago I read N. T. Wright’s wonderful book Surprised By Hope and had my mind blown by all of the beautiful implications of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Being an artist and songwriter, I naturally started to wonder how I might explore ways to connect with the resurrection musically. I found myself day dreaming about writing an album full of songs that sounded like they were coming from the other side of renewal, but with lyrics tethered to the present. I wanted to explore the “already/not yet” tension of living with expectant hope in the midst of suffering.

In addition to this, I wanted it all to sound like joy.

Joy is an elusive thing for an artist to capture. It is not something you can fake or conjure up at will. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit and, at least in my experience, seems to blow in and out like the wind. It is wonderful when it is present, but it’s absence can be frustrating, especially when you are trying to coax it onto the canvas of your work like a child fumbling with crayons.

Time passed and I kept reaching out for joy. I kept writing, struggling, and dreaming. I would fail and scrap everything then start over. Rinse and repeat. I had this joke of a phrase I would rhetorically ask myself: “I just want all my songs to sound like glory and feel like resurrection. Is that too much to ask?”