Sandra McCracken on Psalms as Prayerful Protests

A road map for starting honest conversations with God.
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How do we bring our emotions before the Lord? In this episode, singer and songwriter Sandra McCracken explores that question with our host, Oliver Hersey. They talk about Psalm 89, the inspiration for her single “I Will Sing,” from the album Patient Kingdom, slated to release in October, 2020.

The Psalms, and God’s steadfastness are resounding themes in Sandra’s creative work, and her walk with God. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri — where her mother Betty McCracken taught her to love scripture, and the Psalms.

Sandra said “I find that one of the practices that helps me to find that inner stillness is being out in the woods, or taking a walk or going somewhere in creation. I would love to live by an ocean. Seeing God’s power through creation is also a reminder of who he is.” Tune in for a fresh take on Psalm 89, and to hear her new single "I Will Sing."

You can also watch this interview on YouTube.

Timestamps:

Oliver Hersey: Earlier you had opened up Psalm 89. What if we read Psalm 89, a little bit of it. It’s a long Psalm. I’d love to hear some of your reflections. Would you be willing to do that? [1.30 - 2.29]

I am reading out of the English Standard Version (ESV). Another good translation would be the NIV. Or if you have Robert Altar’s translation in front of you. That also is a good one. This is how your song opens up too:

“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”

Does Robert translate that any differently. Do you have any thoughts or reflections on that? [2:30 - 7:02]

Sandra McCracken: Would you say that, in addition to the Psalm giving us permission to feel - that it’s a pretty repetitive theme for the Psalms also give us permission to ask God to hold true to what he’s promised? [7.03 - 8.13]

This is one thing we haven’t talked about in this Psalm. But I love this part in verse 10, he jumps to creation images. Would you want to read some of that, and talk a little bit about that? [8.14 - 9.07]

I find that one of the practices that helps me to find that inner stillness, is being out in the woods, or taking a walk or going somewhere in creation that reminds me. I would love to live by an ocean. I don’t live anywhere near an ocean. Being juxtaposed with being out on the edge, seeing God’s power through creation is also a reminder of who he is. This would be a reference to mythology - like a sea creature, or something like that? [9.08 - 12.21]

Oliver Hersey: For many of us, I wonder if that’s sometimes what we need to do, in really trying circumstances - just take a breath and try to remember some of these truths, about who God is and what God is like. Have you ever had a moment in your life where there’s just been this delay, this limbo? [12.51 - 14.21]

Let’s keep reading. Let’s see what else pops out. And maybe we’ll have you sing the song. I saw you had your guitar there. Do you want to jump to the end? He turns the corner in verse 38. I want to jump there, and hear some of your thoughts, because this man Ethan is in a difficult spot. [14.22 - 16]

I don’t think I was told I could approach God with this type of emotion, frustration, anger, feeling upset. Has there been a moment for you where you realized I have the green light here, to say some really intense things to God, to challenge him a little bit? [16 - 20.08]

Let me read the last couple of verses, Sandra. And I’m wondering if you would be so gracious and play a little bit of your song. I’ll read the last few verses here, and why don’t you play “I Will Sing.” [20.09 - 25.27]

Check out the show notes:

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Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter

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