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At the beginning of my twenty-ninth year, I got this crazy idea: to write a song from every book of the Bible before I turned thirty. But what began as a fun goal, perhaps just a way to end my twenties with a bang, changed the trajectory of my life.
As it turned out, I absolutely loved writing songs from the Bible: delving into a passage, putting myself in each character’s shoes, trying to understand how this one small story connects with the whole, then coming up with a way to communicate that story with melody and rhythm and lyric. The songs from that year of writing eventually turned into the Blood + the Breath, an album that traces the theme of redemption from creation to the second coming of Christ (a la Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb but with an emphasis on Easter rather than Christmas).
But, like any good story, the Bible demands to be read and retold again and again. So I kept on writing songs from scripture, looking at this same Story from new angles, turning the diamond to let each slant and gradient shine some new light.
Four years later, I was back in the studio with producer Gabe Scott to record A Home & A Hunger. Like the Blood + the Breath, this new album journeys through scripture, with each song parachuting into a different biblical scene. But this time, the songs explore a new theme: the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” of God’s kingdom, the hope and the ache we feel in the space between.
The songs for this album were written during a season defined by upheaval and transition. While writing these songs, we had our third child, made two cross-country moves, and walked through hard things with our church. We saw suffering up close with friends and family, not the least of which was my father-in-law’s struggle with ALS, a degenerative disease without hope or cure. The nightly news brimmed with violence and terrorism, anger over race and politics, and Christians getting tangled in the mess. Everywhere I looked, I found evidence that things are not as they should be. Meanwhile, God was using motherhood and transition to expose my own brokenness and remind me of my need for the gospel. I tend to be an “achiever” type, and God brought me low in order to help me run to this gift I could never achieve or deserve.
I am just a narrator. And yet these stories from scripture have traveled through me, breathed life into my darkest places, brought me to a place of humility and then lifted me up again. In this way, they are my stories. And I know that they are intimately yours as well.Caroline Cobb
As I wrote, I gravitated toward passages that spoke into these themes. Songs like “All is Vanity (Ecclesiastes)” featuring Jill Phillips and “Eve’s Lament” linger in the dissonance of the “not yet,” leaving us hungry for redemption. Songs like “Fullness of Joy (Psalm 16)” and “Behold, Behold (Revelation)” come from passages that point us to the strong hope we cling to, even as we ache for the Day to come. Songs like “There is a Mountain,” “The Two Lost Sons,” and “Only the Sick Need a Physician” explore the confidence we sinners can have in God’s “upside-down” kingdom: a “mountain only the lame can climb… a table only the hungry find,” where “only the beggar will have the currency.”
As you can see, these songs are telling His Story, not mine. I am just a narrator. And yet these stories from scripture have traveled through me, breathed life into my darkest places, brought me to a place of humility and then lifted me up again. In this way, they are my stories. And I know that they are intimately yours as well.
My prayer is that these albums would help you remember and rehearse this Story of ache and hope. I pray these songs would be a channel for the Word of God to live in you, that His truth would get into your heart and mind in the middle of your everyday: when you’re stuck in traffic, cooking dinner, driving carpool, changing a diaper, or working from your desk. And I hope you will be encouraged to keep telling this beautiful Story in your own way: turning the diamond, reflecting its light, revealing new glories at every angle.