Over the Rhine


If you haven’t already found it via my podcast channel, here’s a song about grace and redemption that I (being a willful, self-reliant person prone to forgetting who is Lord of my life) really like by Over the Rhine (and I also wanted to test this new feature on WordPress):

All I Need Is Everything
words and music: Detweiler and Bergquist
recording: Good Dog Bad Dog

Slow down. Hold still.
It’s not as if it’s a matter of will.
Someone’s circling. Someone’s moving
a little lower than the angels.
And it’s got nothing to do with me.
The wind blows through the trees,
but if I look for it, it won’t come.
I tense up. My mind goes numb.
There’s nothing harder than learning how to receive.

Calm down. Be still.
We’ve got plenty of time to kill.
No hand writing on the wall:
just the voice that’s in us all.
And you’re whispering to me,
time to get up off my hands and knees,
’cause if I beg for it, it won’t come.
I find nothing but table crumbs.
My hands are empty. God I’ve been naive.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside, feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

Slow down. Hold still.
It’s not as if it’s a matter of will.
Someone’s circling. Someone’s moving
a little lower than the angels.
This voice calling me to you:
it’s just barely coming through.
Still, I clearly hear my name.
I’ve been fingering the flame
like tomorrow’s martyr.
It gets harder to believe.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside, feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

So from now till kingdom come,
taste the words on the tip of my tongue.
‘Cause we can’t run truth out of town,
only force it underground.
The roots grow deeper
in ways we can’t conceive.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

All I need is all I need.

Yippee! I received my Over the Rhine CDs yesterday. Apparently, they were shipped out December 8 from the States, and I was dubious about whether I would get them before Christmas. For the past 2 weeks, I have been religiously checking my mailbox and with each passing day of not receiving my orders, I braced myself more for disappointment. But they are here now, just in time. After coming home from late-night snacks, I spent the remainder of the last night knitting and savouring these two albums I purchased: Snow Angels and Drunkard’s Prayer. Such simple, satisfying pleasures! It was the first time in a long while that I felt content.

So far, I have been managing the demands of December by staying away from the malls and spending time with people I want to spend time with. In fact, I am quite pleased with how I’ve been using my time this month by connecting more with my coworkers and catching up with friends from high school and university. Trying to “be present” to the people around me helps me to appreciate and be inspired by the Advent and Incarnation of Christ even more. When I get caught up with myself and my priorities, I can be quite flakey in my relationships and commitments, and while I might appear to be “there” (to unperceptive people), I actually am not. Mentally I am absent. I end up not listening very well because I am thinking about other things, like what I’m going to do next, or how to make my brilliant point, or how to alleviate my social anxieties, etc.

I really think that the greatest gift we can offer each other is our attention and presence. “Greatest” because it is the most difficult, requiring us to put aside some part of ourselves, if only temporarily, to reach out to each other. This sacrifice often doesn’t feel good, like an inconvenience or a bother or maybe even a setback. And yet, this is exactly what the Advent of Jesus is about.

Hadn’t planned on writing about “deep thoughts” in this post, but here I am, and not inappropriately irrelevant. Don’t know why, but it gets me each time when I ponder it, this truth that God is present, that He is with us.

Anyways, here’s another musical Christmas treat for you, a track from Over the Rhine’s Christmas album:

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/4471723/view]

So it’s been a long year
Every new day brings one more tear
Till there’s nothing left to cry

My, my how time flies
Like little children hiding their eyes
We’ll make it disappear
Let’s start a brand new year

Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Salvation army bells are ringing
Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Do you believe in angels singing
Darlin’ the snow is falling
Falling like forgiveness from the sky

If I could have anything
What would I want this new year to bring
Well, I’d want you here with me

Tear these thorns from my heart
Help the healing to start
Let’s set this old world free
Let’s start with you and me

Aaaaargh. I am so kicking myself for not going to the Over the Rhine concert last Wednesday. After I saw Jason’s post about the concert, I started poking around the web for more info on this amazing husband-wife duo. Hadn’t played my one and only album of theirs for a while and I have forgotten how good they are. Karin Berquist has an amaaaazing voice.

Over the Rhine has a Christmas album coming out and I want it. With my newfound interest in Sufjan Stevens, I was originally thinking about picking up his recently issued Songs for Christmas. But while it does feature a number of his own creations, most of the tracks are (albeit unique) arrangements of Christmas standards, and I actually don’t like listening to Christmas music (over the years, I have been completely inured by the Christmas musak played in retail environments). I only like singing Christmas songs.

Anyways, Karin and her husband Linford Detweiler have come out with a fully original album called Snow Angels, which you can sample on their myspace site. I quite like “All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue” and the happy “Darlin’ (Christmas is Coming).”

So move over, Sufjan! You’re now sharing the reign of my heart when it comes to indie labels.