My cousin and I walked through the county fair, enjoying the atmosphere even though it was later at night and the activities were coming to a climax with a firework display. A song blasted through the air that I had recently heard but was not yet fully familiar. I commented to my cousin that this was a catchy song. She agreed but pointed out what I hadn't voiced - the song seemed to be mocking church and as we were church goers, we obviously couldn't relate to the song. Fast forward several months later and I listened to the lyrics and decided it actually isn't against church at all. In fact it's a beautiful testament to finding God in a special way to a person who owns she's flawed. It also addresses a trending viewpoint when it comes to how connected people feel with church. I thought it would be fun to go through the lyrics and talk about what I think they mean:
by Maren Morris and Busbee (I did not make this up y'all)
I've cussed on a Sunday, I've cheated
and I've lied. I've fallen from grace a few
too many times....
So here I'm reminded of how a lot of people won't come to church until they're "in a better place." Maren seems to feel the same way, this mindset is unfortunate as Jesus said he came for sinners and the sick not the healthy, see Mark 2;15-17). We don't have to be the church's idea of perfect to step foot in it's congregation. I relate to these few verses because I'm sure I'm guilty of all of these as well. I'm not perfect, but because of Jesus I can approach God as if I am and I'm seen as perfect because of the Cross.
But I find holy redemption when I put this car in drive
Roll down the windows and turn up the dial.
Here, the writer's seem to be saying they acknowledge they need something bigger than themselves to redeem their sin. I've taken dozens of self-assessments that help reveal how, where, and when I feel closest to God. Some people feel his presence in nature, others in community etc. This example leads me to believe solace with the Lord is where the author(s) can find their Savior.
Can I get a hallelujah Can I get an Amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya,
when I play the highway FM, I find my soul
revival, singing every single verse,
yeah I guess that's my church
Here the authors reference accolades meant for God and recognizes the Trinity by using Holy Ghost - they keep it old school, probably for fluid sound, and it's a fun chorus to sing along to :) They write as though this is the place they connect and find God, they seek reconciliation and I actually feel like they're talking about worship. This is pretty awesome as they're coming to God "as is" and worshiping him. Makes me think of one of my favorite verses where Jesus says His true worshipers will do so in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)
When Hank brings the sermon and Cash leads the choir,
it gets my cold cold heart burning, hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy and I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling 'Til my sins wash away
So "Hank" is of course - Hank Williams, who wrote the iconic song "I Saw the Light." Williams' biographer, Colin Escott said this song "was the prayer of the backslider, who lives in hope of redemption (Wikipedia reference)." How appropriate that this song, about a backslider (like us all) references Williams and Johnny Cash. Cash is deemed the worship leader with Williams the preacher. In my opinion it is a precious homage to the two legendary country singers with which Maren shares the genre. I love that they reference the world as wonderful, but acknowledges things can get heavy (preach it sister). Instead of coping with alcohol or a one night stand like a lot of artists are saying these days, the person in this song copes by seeking time with the Lord as an escape. The following line holds my only "complaint" and that is when she croons - "Til my sins wash away." The Good News about Jesus for those who accept Him as Lord is that our sins have already been washed away! But I digress, it shows contrition and that is definitely important!
The song repeats the chorus several times and it's just a great reminder that some people don't always feel connected to God because of church. I'm reminded of how some people have found the Lord more closely in an AA or Celebrate Recovery group because of the lack of judgment found in a room full of sinners and backsliders alike. There is no pretense of perfection here or in a car with windows rolled down singing praises to His name. Church would be a better place for everyone if the message of acceptance of all "as is" was felt by members and visitors alike. This song reminds me that we all experience Christ in different ways and as long as we are connecting with Him, bringing Him glory, forgiveness and reconciliation already belong to us, and often times it's found on a highway FM station. Can I get an Amen?