Having written music for over 30 years now, I’m starting to appreciate and experience how in the journey of my life, creativity has been (and continues to be) a catalyst for my spiritual formation.

Such has been my recent experience of re-recording and releasing a song.

Remembering “At the Foot of the Cross”

I remember exactly where I was when I picked up my guitar that day. An intense week of living by faith, I felt like I was a mess most of the week – always on the edge of tears (and I’m not typically the type to be emotional – or at least ‘outwardly’ in touch with my emotions). I sat down and the words flowed, and melody gushed out of me.

Maybe you have experienced such a situation – whether through songwriting, creative writing, journaling, or some other means of creativity. And perhaps you remember it like many moments of breakthrough – where pain, and longing for God, erupt into expression of sweet, simple love for God. You remember it fondly because of the consolation of intimacy – however, you would rather not repeat it (if you’re honest) because the conditions that got you there hurt so much.

Meditating on Experience

I’m finding healing and delight in revisiting some of those times in my life. Where I go back with a fine toothed comb, and ‘sit’ with things I have created in the past. In a sense it is like Lectio/Audio Divina, mixed with the Examen Prayer. Most recently I’ve been doing this with a song of mine entitled “At the Foot of the Cross.” I’ve been wanting to re-record the song for a long time, but have done it so many times in the past, in concerts, and (delightfully) have heard other people sing it in church services, that I’ve wanted to arrange it and produce it as who I am now – and that was challenging to do (fighting the urge to be locked into ‘the old way’ of doing it).

So, as I took time to record, I also took time to pray and meditate on the lyrics and melody. I was impacted by how God continues to reveal Himself (and love) to me in new and fresh ways. Pushing record in Pro Tools (the recording software that I use) became a new act of worship for me to express again the path that I have tread.

I invite you to try this practice too:

  • Step One: Choose a song, writing, or work of art that you’ve created in the past.
  • Step Two: Pray a prayer of gratitude for the Lord’s faithfulness in your life. Invite Him to open your eyes to what He’s done, and is wanting to do.
  • Step Three: Remember. Take time to recall what was happening in your life when you created the work. What were you feeling? What were the elements contributing to the event?
  • Step Four: Read, listen, or look. Whether it’s taking it phrase by phrase, or taking time to look at the work – what is ‘sticking out’ to you? What is highlighted?
  • Step Five: Sit. Pray and ask, “Lord, what are you wanting to say to me now?”. Create space to be silent and to listen to what the Lord might be saying in and through it.

If you would like to see how this played out in my practice, you can visit: joelbidderman.com/cross. I just released the new recording of this song for Holy Week – and I wrote devotionals for each day reflecting on the song as we journey to Good Friday. I invite you to join me.