625: Start singing Lenten choruses with Carrie Newcomer … Before & After

efore and After you read our interview with the remarkable American singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer (on Wednesday this week), you can start reflecting on her music right now. Today, we’re sharing some brief excerpts—lines from her new album, “Before and After.”
    Here’s a fresh idea: Think about organizing a series for your small group around this album. A crazy idea? Well, consider this: More than 1 million small religious groups, most of them related to congregations, meet regularly across the U.S. Most gather for experiences like prayer or Bible study or ongoing conversation. One of the most popular ideas is to select a book and discuss a chapter each week.
    But, how about organizing a group around an album like Carrie’s new “Before and After”? This album has 13 tracks. Divide them up among your sessions. Ask participants to listen to a couple of songs each week. Then gather for your next meeting and start with the question: “So, how did you live with these songs this week?”
    I can guarantee you’ll have no shortage of spirited conversation. In January, 2010, we named Carrie Newcomer among our 10 Spiritual Sages to Watch in ’10.

    IMPORTANT LENTEN NOTE: This is Lent for 2 billion Christians around the world. Please, check out our Lenten Resources page—packed with terrific ideas for lighting up your spiritual journey toward Easter. This page also links to the FREE 40-day “Our Lent” series you can enjoy right now.
    AND: If you’d like to order a copy of Carrie’s new album, “Before and After,” click here to jump to Amazon.


Even without the melodies, which transform these words into unforgettable music, there is power in the poetry itself. We invite you to reflect on these words—just a few lines excerpted from some of the songs you’ll discover on this album. And don’t miss our interview with Carrie on Wednesday!

FROM “Before and After”

We live our lives from then until now

By the mercy received
    and the marks on our brow

To my heart I’ll collect
    what the four winds will scatter

And frame my life into before and after

FROM “Ghost Train”

I’m not saying don’t remember
    or that all things can be repaired

But after the truth’s been told
    where do we go from there

Sorrow is a constant companion
    we learn to walk beside

Keep walking when it whispers
    and don’t listen when it lies

FROM “I Do Not Know Its Name”

I do not know its name

Swimmer or watcher

But I believe that there is always

Moving beneath the water

FROM “Stones in the River”

So today I’ll drop stones into the river

And the current takes them out into

And the truth is most of us will never know

Where our best intentions go

And still I’ll drop another stone

FROM “I Meant to Do My Work Today”

I meant to do my work today

So many plans I had made

I’d check the mail, I’d make the calls

Save the world and sweep the hall

Finally get my accounting done

Sort the beans one by one

But I got waylaid by the morning sun

And I got absolutely nothing done

FROM “A Small Flashlight”

The way unfolds like an open hand

The way unfolds like I didn’t plan

And only in looking back
    do we understand

That the way was true as an open hand

FROM “If Not Now”

It will take a change of heart
    for this to mend
It will take a change of heart
    for this to mend
But miracles do happen
    every shining now and then
If not now, tell me when?

check out our Lenten Resources page, including a link to the FREE 40-day “Our Lent” series you can enjoy
right now. We ALSO invite readers to expand this page by Emailing us with your ideas
    AND: If you’d like to order a copy of Carrie’s new album, “Before and After,” click here to jump to Amazon


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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