The opening track on “Broken, Gazing” is a song I composed February 4, 2009 while working at Laity Lodge. The end of 2008 was a bitter season for me and much of what I was carrying inside of me is expressed in the lyric of this song. During this time, I found a great comfort in the words of Psalm 42.
In this lyric, I equate the ancient’s idea of the soul with the modern’s idea of the heart. Thus, “as a deer pants for the flowing streams, so pants my soul (heart) for you, O God. My soul (heart) thirsts for God, for the living God… Why are you cast down, O my soul (heart), and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” It occurs to me that the only thing we can truly give God is our heart.
I wrote this while working in the Cody Center which looks out through trees onto the Frio River floating by. There is manmade waterfall just up from this point that can be heard if the door is open. Perhaps this too, helped me weave in the beautiful language of the forty-second Psalm with the lyric: “Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
Yet, while I created the full lyric and most of the keyboard parts that morning, I was not able to record to vocal to my satisfaction until the Fall of 2013 while again in the Cody Center. It took me two takes – probably because I’d been trying to get it right for four years!
Henry Van Dyke’s beautiful words set to Beethoven’s music had been on my mind that morning, too. During my time at Laity in 2009, I had just finished leading worship at a retreat where someone had asked me to include “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I was embarrassed that I did not have a good arrangement to offer and had set out to create one. The lyric stayed around long enough to meld into the new song, too!
Production wise, Wendy Goodwin’s violin solo was added in a later session along with the drum, bass and guitar. The final “touch” was Janet Chvatal’s beautiful opening and closing Latin chant which is a prayer to the Eternal Light. Again, I offer the words from Psalm 42: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
Lux Aeternum (Eternal light)
Through the shades of my bedroom,
Sunlight pierces morning gloom,
A mercy sweeps the waking dreams,
And lifts me from their darkness to the light.
Down below the river flows,
It’s surface captures all that glows,
Deep to deep calls from beyond.
And lifts my spirit in it’s morning song.
This is what it is to live,
To face the day and learn to give,
The brokenness within your heart,
And let the living water have it’s way.
Jesus, here’s my heart,
Take it from the start, today.
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with your light this day.
ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with
collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: www.selahservice.com/2015/05/jeff-johnsons-arkmusic-discography/...more