Country music: I confess for years I hated it. But lately the “twang” has been replaced with the “thang.” A combination of rock, folk, blues, and down home southern style guitar strummin’ has captured my tapping toe. Sometimes I find myself catching up on recent top twenty videos from CMT or flipping the channel in my car to the local station to hear the latest from Sugarland, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith (my favorite), or this one from Little Big Town:
I feel no shame
I’m proud of where I came from
I was born and raised
In the boondocks
One thing I know
No matter where I go
I keep my heart and soul
In the boondocks
When one listens to country there is a pride of country. You won’t find patriotism in Hollywood, but you’ll hear the stars and stripes wave in songs from Nashville. It is the tie to place, where one’s from, that grabbed my attention this morning. Place gets into one’s person. Hometown feels like down home. Locale is mental. The lyrics from “Boondocks” continue, “And I can feel that muddy water running through my veins.” Where I’m from tells some about who I am.
“Path” is not simply something I’m on, but what should be in me, what should run through me. My feet and my heart are to walk on the same path (Psalm 44:18). Every wrong path can be understood by God’s precepts within me (Psalm 119:104). God’s Word is the light for how I think, my internal path (Psalm 119:105). I need to say with the Psalmist, “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight . . . Turn my eyes away from worthless things, and renew my life in your way” (Psalm 119, 35, 37). Path is a choice I make to live a certain way, and the way becomes my path (Psalm 119:133).
In The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, there is a canticle entitled “The Gospel Way.” In part it reads, “Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way, Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way, Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit, for applying this way to my heart. Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty; Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.” The Gospel Way should become my way, leading me down the way.
Where I’m from tells some about who I am. Where I walk infuses my thought, my talk. The Gospel Way is my way. As the country runs through country music, so The Path I’m on runs through me.
Mark Eckel is also a fan of 80’s rock and The Rock, Jesus.