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A Way To See In The Dark Concert Review

October 3, 2011

Today I’m riding a bus on the Called To Love tour with Downhere (featuring Marc Martel whose viral youtube video with 3.9 million views won him an appearance on Ellen today! Check out the video here and the Ellen performance here), Aaron Shust (whose got the #1 song in the country right now!), and yours truly. (Check tour dates here)  

My new record released three weeks ago, and one week ago I was honored to be able to share the new songs with a CD release concert in Nashville at the Hutchmoot – a gathering of some of my favorite people in the world, The Rabbit Room community.

My friend Breann Stephens was there and wrote a generous and articulate review of the show that she’s agreed to let me share with you. Thank you Breann for highlighting the best of what we can hope for in a musical gathering – an intersection where our different stories can meet and mingle and where, by grace, spaces are created for the Holy Spirit to speak.

Jason Gray A Way to See in the Dark Release Concert
September 23, 2011
Breann Stephens

Fear creeps as a creature in the night.

Two times in one week, the burglary alarm sounded. Both times, police arrived, investigated, and left with no definitive answer as to what set the alarm blaring. Now, I lie awake at night, acutely aware of every sound, wondering what danger may lurk in the shadows. I lock every door, secure all valuables, and keep my phone nearby. My possessions remain intact, but I have been pilfered. There is no sign of forced entry, but an intruder has come. The thief’s name is Fear.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).

There, in the still of the night, a different voice whispers. It’s the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls his own sheep by name, the one who lays down his life and has the power to take it up again. It’s the whisper of Christ.

On September 13th, Jason Gray released his latest studio project, A Way to See in the Dark. Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the CD release show at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, TN. This concert was to me a whisper of Christ.

The evening began at the end  with the song, “The End of Me.” It’s okay. This is just the end. Don’t be afraid. This is where it begins. “The worst thing is not the last thing,” as Frederick Buechner wrote, “It is the next to last thing.” It is when we come to the end of ourselves that new life opens, a life marked with peace, hope, joy, and love. Thus, the concert began with an invitation. It was an invitation to trust, an invitation to hope in Christ’s presence, his love, and his victory.

The presence of Christ descended in song, story, and the sacred sharing of earthly space that Friday night. His was the mouth that spoke, “Do not be afraid.” His was the hand that gathered, held, and provided. His was the ear that heard both our cries and our gratitude. His was the name as intimate as the sound of our breathing. His was the shoulder big enough to bear the weight of our fear.

In “No Thief Like Fear,” Jason encouraged us to use an angry voice to sing the chorus. The song became a naming, a place where we were given permission to direct our anger at the one who “robs me blind right before my eyes.” The riotous beginning of the song gave way to gentleness as we were reminded of a deeper truth, I am free, I am free, oh my God has rescued me. From these chains I am released for my God has set me free.

Perhaps there is no greater promise of God’s presence than in the name, “Emmanuel,” God with us. Jason introduced, “I Will Find a Way” saying, “This might be a song about a girl or a guy you know, or it might even be about you.” God’s determination to live among us was beautifully manifest in the words, “I found a way.” When we couldn’t find the strength to come, Christ came to us, and he’s coming still.

Joy to the world. The Lord is come. This Christmas Hymn, “Joy to the World” was attached to the end of, “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (part 1)” If Advent whispers Christ’s presence, then the Crucifixion whispers his love, and the Resurrection, his victory. How fitting then that, Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection came together in this one song at the center of the set list.

Perhaps the most powerful realization of Christ’s love and victory came when Jason sang over us asking, “What are you afraid of? What are you ashamed of?” The music played and images emerged in my mind – an allergic reaction to a wasp sting, a worksheet covered in red ink, pointed fingers and laughter, a hospital bed and the words “brain tumor,” a tornado torn town, disappointment, failure, rejection, loneliness, and loss. These images were the toes of a terrible monster, one that bellows, “You are alone. You are unloved. Death has the final say.” We joined in a cry for ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the room, “Break every chain.” And, in the face of a greater truth, the monster of fear loosed its hold. It recoiled, then dissolved.

The next two songs (“Remind Me Who I Am” and “I Am New”) were reminders that fear and shame do not define us; our identity is in Christ. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1). We are the beloved of Christ, and that is enough.

What better answer can we give to Christ’s presence, love, and victory than gratitude?  And so the concert came to a close as we lifted our voices and sang, “Thank You, thank You, Jesus, we are grateful.”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Eddy Efaw permalink
    October 4, 2011 7:10 am

    Insightful and thought-provoking review. I was at the concert as well and felt the Holy Spirit there among us. The lyrics in these songs come from a place of vulnerability and confession and authenticity. God has been whispering to me through the words he gave Jason since my first encounter with them in at my kitchen table as I listened to it for the first time. Thank you for this review. Your take on it gave me even more to think about!

  2. October 4, 2011 9:05 am

    So very grateful to have been there. “Fear is easy… love is hard” – simple, but profound. Still chewing on that one…

  3. kari permalink
    November 7, 2011 9:52 pm

    My 10 yr old son wanted me to tell you his story. He has struggled with stuttering since he was 4. We have been to many therapists & “experts”. It has been a long hard battle for us. Anyway – our pastor brought him into his office & showed him your video to Remind me who I am. He fell in love with the song. He loves music & is learning to play the guitar. We had to buy the cd. So now every night before he goes to bed he cranks up Remind me who I am. He knows every word. Thanks from a Mom who is fighting for her son!

  4. Annie permalink
    December 6, 2011 5:58 pm

    Please come to Arizona 🙂

  5. Lydia permalink
    March 7, 2012 1:30 pm

    Do you have a fan e-mail address?

Trackbacks

  1. Hutchmoot Hub 2011: A Collection of Reflections from a Wonder-full Time | S.D. Smith

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