Day by Day


Full lyrics and lead sheet
Link for non-US folks to listen to the song

I often tend toward a compartmentalized or over-intellectualized faith. But every so often something hits me on a deeper level and suddenly I feel and understand God’s love, my own and our own human brokenness, and the beautiful reality of redemption more than before. Today, songwriter Isaac Wardell’s leading this song in an afternoon vesper service at the Worship Symposium was one of those times.

My paraphrase of his introduction:

In many Christian circles there’s a high value for that “world-changing” career. But not everyone has the means, opportunity, or mobility to pursue that kind of profession. And those who do often burn out because the focus is so much on impact, glamor, prestige and… saving the world. And we ourselves don’t have ability or power to change the world. Pursuing that goal can also be problematic or paternalistic or become exhausting or unsustainable.

Children’s literature and education use the concepts of “windows and mirrors”: we need to peer into the worlds of others and we also need to see ourselves in stories (Bishop, 1990). An example would be a picturebook with illustrations of young children looking out toward Jesus. Children of various backgrounds seeing pictures of people who look like them can see themselves as part of the story.

Wardell wrote this song to be singable and also a cry, reminder, and prayer on working for God’s kingdom. It’s meant to serve as “windows and mirrors” toward a truly holistic theology of vocation; To remind us that there is honor and beauty in how each vocation shows us all of God’s love and works toward it. For those working, to help see that you are indeed part of God’s story and work even in the difficult or everyday. For all of us, to see others working and to notice how that work is part of God’s image and story. And for all of us to cry out together for God’s kingdom to come; for our God to be near to us and have mercy.

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