by Kevin Burton
Amy Grant’s 1979 album “My Father’s Eyes” didn’t make my “album challenge” series, but one of its songs seems to be emerging for me.
The song is “Faith Walkin’ People.” I liked it immediately back in the day and have been drawn to it ever since. But these days some of the lyrics really hit a bull’s eye.
It’s helping me pose and answer this question: what things are fixed and what things are changeable?
What is there that I can count on? What things are rock solid? Conversely, what things are built like a movie set?
The movie studios build scenery that will look realistic on film. But when the shooting is done, these buildings are dismantled. They never were anything more than a façade, constructed to propagate a fantasy.
As we walk through this song, we’ll see that as the apostle Peter wrote, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers,
and its flower falls away. But the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25 NKJV).
Grant was very young when she co-wrote Faith Walkin’ People. I don’t know that she‘s had a more insightful song since.
Here are some of the lyrics; “Say goodbye to the feelings cause the feelings go away. Say goodbye to the people cause the people never stay.”
How very true. The Bible describes our earthly lives as a vapor (James 4:14). If my whole life is a vapor what does that make my feelings, a vapor within a vapor?
And the people? People can really let you down. Or maybe they just change over the years and aren’t people you can relate to any more. Maybe you never saw them correctly in the first place. That movie-set façade they erected, fooled you for a time.
Or maybe you’re the one who changed. Hmmm…..
Another phrase from the song, “Faith talkin’ people we must discern what’s really real.”
I love the word discern. I get a picture of mental sifting. Data hits you with lightning speed from every angle in the so-called information age. What to make of it all?
One of my friends in college wrote an article in the school newspaper about thinking being a new sport. I would love to develop that idea. If thinking were a new sport, discernment would be a key statistic.
But in order to profit from ability to discern, you have to identify a standard by which to measure, right? This faith walking, faith talking that Grant wrote about, does no good unless you have invested your faith in the right place.
Faith in what exactly? For this, we turn again to Peter.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1: 3-4 NKJV).
Another piece of the song reads, “And in all the earth there is nothing worth half as much as life with You, cause the people and the things we’re counting on here are gonna pass away too.”
This was an eternal truth before you, I or Amy Grant ever thought about it. But when I see it day by day, when the layers of what I thought was life are peeled away (a friend dies, a respected leader falls to sin) it hits me in a whole new way. How about you?
As you start your day, heading out the door, virtual or physical, are you asking yourself, what things are fixed, what things are changeable?
In 1929 and again in 1987, those depending on the stock market, did they find it fixed or changeable?
I could go on with other examples, but let’s give the last word to hymn writer Edward Mote.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”