Here is the fruit of my latest songwriting efforts:  “Daughter.”  It was inspired by a verse that I recently rediscovered, one that both haunted me and gave me hope during my transition from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to what ended up being a couple of mostly secular years:

“How long will you waver, O faithless daughter?  For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth…”  Jeremiah 31:22

It’s a verse that seems to fit all my wanderings in and out of organized religion, but it also seems timely given the conversations happening across the modern day church about the challenges it faces.  The verse preceding it even makes plain that the question is directed not at a single person, but to God’s people on earth:  “Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.”

These are tough times for a model of organized religion that was built around a set of social assumptions that are no longer remotely accurate.  For those that cling to the outdated loveliness of this sinking ship, the future seems full of fear — emptying pews, mounting bills, and the looming end of church as we know it.  But we must learn to see through the fog of all these worries, and to see the church as God sees it — as the body of Christ, constantly being made new.  We are passing from one season to another and being renewed together — change is coming, whether we want it or not, but we have the choice to either shrink from it with fear and trepidation, or to seize it eagerly as a light of hope and a bright new chance to dive deep into God’s restorative work in the world.

Lyrics are below:

“How much longer will you wander
O proud and faithless daughter?
Your steps have carried you far
But around you, this world changes
While a war inside you rages
To remember who you are

You’re searching for an answer
While fear eats you like a cancer
And the doubt that lulls you to sleep
Leaves your praises sounding hollow
Daughter, too afraid to follow
Take a risk, and take the leap

For though your heart aches,
A brighter day breaks
A new dawn calls to you
Daughter, have no fear,
And let your eyes clear
To see the world made new

The things you knew have shifted
But it’s new hope you’ve been gifted
A promise that you will see
Though the darkness may surround you
Daughter, live the love around you
Believe, and you will be free

For though your heart aches,
A brighter day breaks
Just hear it calling you
Daughter, have no fear
And let your eyes clear
To see the world made new

For though your heart aches,
Its shackles can break
It’s not too late for you
No backwards glance
Daughter, take a chance
On the hope that waits for you

O proud and faithless daughter,
How much longer will you wander?”

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Allison Siburg

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