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April 12, 2022 10:00 pm
Can seasons of darkness help us see more clearly than ever? Singer & author Andrew Peterson describes his path through depression to resurrection.
Show Notes and Resources
Andrew Peterson's 3 Albums for Resurrection Letters
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I didn't grow up in a church that do this, but later in life.
We ended up in a more liturgical church that celebrates holy week like to the nines. Starting with Palm Sunday, it's like okay here we go were about to walk through the story pretty intense way, and on Wednesday of holy week we would have attend every service was done in a way that ended with darkness is like, you blot a candle you read Scripture and remember how broken the world is you don't provide the answer you as a learning to sit in the grief of the brokenness the world makes Easter morning. All the more precious does not welcome to family life today to help you. First, the relationships that matter most and will think that I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us and we live today.com or on our family life, family life, we got Andrew Peterson back in the studio. Andrew welcome back to family life today. Things are. We are coming up on the critical historical moment in the whole Christian faith and really wonderful, everything hinges in and rises and falls on this one moment in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously that's something that you believe in and of have written songs about the resurrection letters out and also talk about resurrection and why. I mean, not to be people written three different albums on that one topic but you did. And the question is why so there's this book called surprised by Hope by NT Wright because of Reddit, you know some people don't agree with everything he says but this book in particular haven't really talked anybody who said he's wrong about and it's this book about the resurrection and what it really meant to the early church and what it means for us now and somehow I missed it grown up in the church. I just didn't really understand the significance of what it was that Jesus did and what that means for us. This idea that we also have this bodily resurrection, that is been promised to us that he's he's the first fruits of that whole thing.
And man I just I love Easter I love it because in the northern hemisphere at least we get to see all of creation resurrect you know is one of the coolest things to me that we get to celebrate Lent and Easter in the season where the earth is going from very dead looking to daffodils poking up out of the ground and these little trumpets of the resurrection. Like all of creation is preaching the sermon to us and I just want to embrace that wholeheartedly and is one of the great joys of my life is that I think this is our fourth year now. It will were touring around and proclaiming that truth and saying hey keep your eyes peeled. Because the thing that's happening all around you. The way there's a song my friend wrote that says the hills remember green again.
And as that happens, is this great reminder that Christ conquered death and that we also will through his power.
So all that is like the centrality of it was something that I missed and you know I've read plenty of CS Lewis talked about you every sermon in the book of acts mentions the resurrection is like this. The centerpiece of the thing.
Like if that thing didn't happen. What wire weave in here and so I the short version. Stories like maybe 12 years ago 13 years ago. I wrote an album and usually I want you put the songs together and I kinda look for some connecting thread like what's the theme, and I noticed that all the songs in one way or another were about the coming resurrection of this idea that the resurrection of Jesus, sending shockwaves into creation and were experiencing those and those songs are about that so into the label and I was like I want to call resurrection letters but I realize that I think I should've written an album about Jesus's resurrection that this would be the answer.
So I want to call this when resurrection letters, volume 2, and they were like what are you talking about Star Wars man to go to the prequel later and so I called it color resurrection letters to and 10 years later was when I finally had the guts to to try to write the songs about Jesus's resurrection was his huge scary project but eventually you know we finished writing resurrection letters, volume 1, and then I was like well that opens with Jesus heart beating in the tomb, and I feel like we need to at least acknowledge the crucifixion.
So he went wrote resurrection letters prologue so the whole thing holds together as the crucifixion followed by the resurrection of Jesus, followed by kind of glorying in what is coming to us take us back like you said that you never really got it growing up yet. Talk about when you first got at what happened. I keep talking about CS Lewis. It was like reading the Narnia books and the great divorce and if you guys know the great horse great great book. It kinda began the process of making me realize that I think Lewis said that that the people who did the most in God's name for this world were the people were thinking the most about the next one. This idea that keeping your eyes fixed on what is to come kind of changes the way you behave now and I love that idea. But even when I listen to my older records I can hear this kind of like I'll fly away kind of theology, you know, that still was missing the puzzle piece that the new Jerusalem descends, and God makes his home with us again.
You know that's that's what Revelation tells us, and man that is. It's like the good news is better than I thought it was.
It isn't just that Jesus died for us paid for our sin, conquered death, so that we could we could be in heaven, there was almost there was almost this like what for kind of elephant in the room and as a kid I was like, but why, why would he do all of these things and slowly realizing that the answer is because he loves this world. He loves his creation and he made us to be stewards over it to rule over it and take care of it in a proper way and so that was the puzzle piece that clicked into place and made me so excited about what's to come. Like I talk to kids who sometimes are terrified of eternity.
If you zero talk to people like that like the idea that we're just gonna be like in this disembodied state floating around forever.
Who wants to do that. Like I think one of the I heard a theologian talk about how in John 316, when it says God for God so loved the world that the I know I'm no Greek scholar, but the idea it was that the word for the world. I was assumed that meant the people in the world but it actually could be translated.
For God so loved his creation which includes us, but it's all of his creation that he gave his only begotten son so he's in the process of redeeming creation and us. I'm thrilled you can see that I'm excited right now. I get so when I allow it because it just feels so it's it's like I just want to go back in time until 1213-year-old Andrew that all that stuff that he aches to be true is more true than he can believe and it just fills in the blanks that were left and that can a typical cultural southern Christianity that I grew up in some talk about it mean if you're thinking about telling 12 and 13-year-old Andrew a lot of our listeners are parents like us who have experienced the radical transformation of the resurrection not only of Christ but of our own lives. How do we teach that translate that pass that on. How did you try to do that with your own kids. Besides having them listen to albums making the lives and I can tell you one of the ways that I have tried to help my kids see it is is through gardening. I went through depression. When I was like 40 and they lasted a few years and it was it was really tough confusing season for me and it happened to coincide with this awakening to my love for taking care of the property where we live like a started keeping bees and try to grow flowers and in and we have this cottage garden out front and a friend of mine gave us this 30 year garden plan. She's an English gardener who gave us this really elaborate plan for a property that she was like, don't try to do this all now to cost you a fortune just pick a little section work on it every year and so I was doing all of that work and at some point I began to realize that I don't if you ever struggled with depression, but like it doesn't really haven't hard end date.
You know it's just I realize one day that I was talking about in the past tense and I was like oh I guess whatever the thing was is kind of over now I realize that that the gardening the putting things in the ground embodied the metaphor for me. It was like I spent a lot of time feeling like God was mad at me that he was pushing my face into the dirt that he was punishing me for something I didn't even know I done wrong. Whatever it was, and I remember vividly going out into the garden with my daughter and taking a little seed and say hey spring, we can plant some seeds and I took the seat and I pushed his face into the dirt and I kinda wounded the earth in the process I cut up cut a hole in it and covered it over like a death, and we would go out every day to wait for that new life to come. Breaking through. It was like that was when the lightbulb kinda began to come on for me that how how much it means that the earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, that the heavens declare his handiwork in his praise. Whatever that name Paul talks about in Romans that were without excuse, because if you got your eyes peeled you can see this truth showing up all the time and so that to me was like what if God didn't intend for our bodies to be resurrected. One day, then why would why would he give us such a perfect metaphor for you asked about how I impress those things on my kids. I think trying to help them to to live close to the earth and in a way that pays attention to God's creation to the fact that it is is preaching to us, lays the groundwork for this widened imagination for what it means for us to one day die and be resurrected.
Yeah, there is the as you just that picture in the garden and I'm not a big garden guy. But then I could see the image and it made me think more of death, then resurrection but there is no resurrection without death, and we run from pain. We run from anything that feels like it's dying, and yet talk about that a little because you have to embrace a little bit the death of the crucifixion before you can have resurrection as a as a mom as a dad is a person. How does that impact a lot of us are super good dwelling on the dark parts right like a church. We tend to to kinda brush over that and the other the whole theology of suffering in and of lament in Scripture limit needs a place in our worship services. I really think in silence needs a place but also celebration and rejoicing like it's all it's all part of the deal. So, for I didn't grow up in a church that did this but but later in life we we ended up in a more liturgical church that that celebrates on holy week like to the nines.
Like I love starting with Palm Sunday, it's like okay here we go were about to walk through the story in a pretty intense way, and on Wednesday of holy week we would have a 10 embrace service because ever heard of this, we've done it at our header yeah yeah and so that there is a zillion ways to do it but at this church. It was done in a way that ended with darkness. It's like you blow out a candle you read in Scripture we remember how broken the world is but you don't provide the answer yet because were experiencing in the wider context of this of this week and so learning to sit in the grief of the brokenness the world makes Easter morning.
All the more precious doesn't yeah and I think that's part of it is like to teaching our kids that it that we don't have to be afraid to lean into lament and into darkness.
Let the suffering do its work in us. The fact your suffering doesn't mean that you're doing anything or hung necessarily it could mean that you're in the cave because God loves you. Not because he doesn't go back to that evening Andrew talking about that to your time of depression because lot of fast a lot of our listeners have gone through that. How is it marked you house it changed the I feel a lot of empathy with people who are going through that like that you know that quite a few people came out of the woodwork. When I wrote about it in the God of the garden people I knew and some people who I didn't who said no thank you for expressing this like is not often that Christians talk a whole lot about that and so yet it's I've I've made some good friends out of the process but really it's given me a better relationship to time and what I mean by that is that I'm a very impatient person but gardening like were not. When I plant a tree. Now I plant the tree. I'm better at imagining what is gonna look like in 15 years asked now II do work in the garden that should that that I go. Okay, this isn't gonna look great for a while but to do the work now and I'm in a trust that this plan is can you know come to fruition. Ha ha unintended and so what I mean by that is that when I am in those seasons of suffering. I'm better now at holding on to the fact that this is not gonna be forever.
That's the great live depression, I think, is that yeah this is your life and it will always be this way.
That's despair it's a lack of imagination that one day some great good thing could fall into your and your lap.
It's trusting that the author of the story has good intentions for you and so for me it's like reading our kids stories when they were little talk and listen to music great music by people sometimes warning Christians to like understand better what it feels like to really make and then to show them that Jesus is stronger than all that you know that that they don't have to be afraid to engage with it because there is there some good coming and so anyway I could talk about this for days one of the last thing I would say about that is that I saw this theologian talking about the Lord of the rings when Tiny like the talked about how that one of the main themes is the triumph of hope over despair and that story on some of the characters despair and one of them. Dennis Thor actually commit suicide because he thinks, how can we ever defeat the orcs like there's no way there's too much darkness and then Sam and Frodo find their way onto spoil the ending for people, but the ring ends up getting destroyed in a way that nobody could foresee. Like if you read that story for the first time you would never guess that that's how it happens and what I love about it is that Frodo is not the hero of the Lord of the rings and Sam is not the hero of the Lord of the rings, the author of the story is the year of the Lord of the rings because Providence is the thing that ended up working all of these threads together and and allowed the ring to be destroyed in a way that the characters were unable to do on their own and so in that context, we think of our own lives. That way we don't we don't have to be the hero of our story. It's not our job to destroy the ring. It's our job to be obedient. Walk into the darkness, trusting that the author the stories good.
Yeah, I think it's important what you did, what you've actually modeled for our listeners specially for parents is talking about the darkness, not hiding that have pretending you didn't struggle but actually if we as parents could talk about that in our family room with our kids. I think were afraid to do that.
I know that when we would do a Good Friday service and we did it for 30 years we would walk out of Good Friday like you talked about the temporary darkness and I always I was in the planning of those services.
Unlike what we can walk out and I know I everything yeah everything in the we can't let you walk out, but because we did in an people are quiet. There's no talking is just like it's dark and then you walk in Sunday and the resurrection story has so much more power because you've experienced the darkness, and I think his parents tell me if you agree, Andrew, we need to talk about the darkness and the struggles so that when we talk about the power of the resurrection they feel it. We feel it.
Our family feels it in a way that's powerful because we experience both extremes. Yeah, I completely agree and I think I hope we haven't done it with a feeling we've always aired Jamie and I on the side of being open with her kids about what were dealing with whatever time you know we had it fume at times, only let our friends in on some crisis that were going through and will mention in passing that our kids know about it and they would be like you told your kids about. This will yeah you know it we would talk about it over dinner, and so there it is. Especially that season when I was in that depression. I couldn't hide like they knew something was wrong. Like the worst thing would've been for me to just pretend and so instead they would say what's going on and I would say I don't know I'm just really sad and that went on for about two years, but they would also see mom and dad get up in the morning and go to church and sometimes stand there unable to sing, you know. And the songs were too happy, which by the way, as a person who is led music before our member in that moment whenever people would say like now saying let me hear you sing louder, are I wanted to be like. Isn't it enough that I'm here man like I showed up like let me off the hook.
I do admit is maybe the people and in the audience need to just be silent and and to listen and to be present and so I you know I'm kind of bouncing all over the place but I was just thinking about how when somebody's in real crisis it doesn't do a lot of good to tell them everything to be okay. What they needed somebody to just feel the pain with them right and you just say I'm so sorry and to weep with him and we get to do that we get to grieve like those who have hope right to know exactly a messed up that quote for you not to me but we don't have to be afraid of grieving. You know, we don't have to be afraid of trying to fix it all today and that goes for when you try to lead somebody to Jesus summons reveals great pressure to like this is the conversation, you know, I've got this one chance and it's like me asking to be a thousand conversations and this can be a thousand you know meals together and walking together. So anyway so let's ask on what I'm getting at when I talk about my relationship to time, like I'm learning to be patient with the suffering you know and like really give that seed time to germinate and the good news is that Easter is just around the corner and that is our hope, the resurrection of Christ is always our hope is we keep our eyes on him.
Whether we're in a good place or a bad place to have him at the center so were just wondering Andrew could you pray for our listeners for all of us as we close in his Easter is approaching his pray for us. Sure, most merciful God, we give you thanks and praise when we were still far off you met us in your son thank you so much for giving us such a good story you please come back you been listening to Dave and Wilson with Andrew Peterson on family life today you find links to his album the resurrection letters in today show notes and it family life today.com. If you know of anyone who could benefit from today's conversation. We love it if you share this podcast wherever you get your podcast and while you're there.
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