I Need You

Every Lament A Love Song: The Pulse Shootings In Orlando, FL

G. Rouault

G. Rouault

What Do We Do With Pain?

In ninth grade English class, my brutally honest professor once asked me, "Josh, do you know why your papers get C's?  Because your Christianity keeps you from writing honestly about the evil in the novels we're reading- and in your life as well."

He was right.  At the time, my understanding of evil was that any kind of worthy faith in God explained it away- if not with denial, then certainly with trivial answers and quickly referenced scripture verses.

A number of years later I spent a summer preaching through the different genres of the psalms for a church in Tennessee.  I didn't know it then, but that summer would become a turning point in my theology, in my relationship with God, and in my relationship with suffering.  That's because I learned that, more than any other kind of Psalm in Israel's hymnbook, there are Psalms of Lament, of sadness, pain, anger, confusion, ambiguity, and discouragement.

So what does it say to us, in the wake of the shootings in Orlando last Sunday, that God's people wrote more sad songs than any other kind in their hymns of "praise?"

Here is the audio link to a sermon on Psalm 13 I gave a few years ago.  The title is a phrase from Nicholas Wolterstorff's fantastic (and heartbreaking) book "Lament For A Son," where he says that every lament is [ultimately] a love song.

By the way, during that summer of preaching on the psalms, I tried to write a modern day psalm of lament.  I called it "I Need You."  A few years later it was picked up by a band called the Swift and got some radio play.  You can hear the song here.

You can hear the Swift's version of the song here.

Relevant Magazine's The Drop Features Josh's Album

If you're interested in checking out the new hymns album, you can stream it for a limited time at Relevant Magazine's The Drop!  More about the album...

About "The Birds Their Carols Raise"

An album of hymns from singer-songwriter Josh Bales

I've wanted to make a hymns album for years.  Hymns are the songs I sing when I'm leading worship at my local church, or on the road.  I love their poetry.  I love their history.  I love their theology.  I love their ability to take a thousand different voices in a room and make them one.  They are common songs for a common faith, and that's a REALLY.  GOOD.  THING. This Is My Father's Worldand Fairest Lord Jesus both ask me to read the day's pessimistic headlines only after I've engaged nature and been reminded by it that, though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. and,  Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer, who makes the woeful heart to sing.Be Thou My Vision asks me to consider the way Orthodox Christians talk about salvation- a life long process of God cleaning the lens of my heart so that I can see him, the world, myself, and others aright. I first heard The King Of Love My Shepherd Is on a choral album from John Rutter and The Cambridge Singers.  I'm brought to tears each time I sing, Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me, and on his shoulder gently laid, and home, rejoicing, brought me. And of all the destructive ways and places that I seek to hide from life's storms, Rock Of Ages offers me the hope that God, in Christ, is my ultimate refuge. Holy, Holy, Holy! helps me sing the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, and transports me into the heavens where, with all the saints and angels, I join in the song of Isaiah, Revelation, and the Church's early Eucharistic prayer (did you hear the Sanctus at the end of the track?). In Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, I proclaim that God's provision for me- a weary pilgrim- will be enough. I also wanted to update the recordings of several original songs that I consider to be the brothers and sisters of hymns- at least that’s how I intended I Need YouThe Pilgrim SongCome to Me, and A Hymn For All The World.  Thanks for supporting my music all these years.  I hope "The Birds Their Carols Raise" will be the first of a few projects focused on the songs of the Church! - Josh