This reflection comes from Mbird contributor and friend, Malone Gilliam:

Happens to be one of those days (which is actually everyday)…. I start the morning on my elliptical trying to wage some kind of war against aging and weight gain. My efforts are more to stem the tide rather than take any ground. Halfway through my ‘sweat-fest,’ my iPod shuffles to Darden Smith’s song, “Field of Crows.”Even though it contains no inherently good news, for me it soothes like the Balm of Gilead. It simply and honestly laments the cruelty of the Law.

I have wanted to post on this tune for a while and decided this morning to do it. Darden opens:

“Damn this wicked world. Damn I wish that heaven wasn’t hidden like a pearl, underneath the sea. I wish all the answers came more easily to me. Watchin’ as my world spins out of control. I’d like to make it stop; Did ev’rything I was told. And I feel like that man, makin’ my last stand in the field of crows.”

This has been my life story. Christianity was always the demand for more and the quest for the elusive. I read my Bible more diligently, prayed for the countries of the world, attempted to ‘share in the sufferings of Christ’ with Lenten disciplines – I did ev’rything I was told…. Or at least I tried.

So often the church sincerely offers visions of Christian life that blossoms if we tend our gardens. One of two things happens: we lie to ourselves and each other about fruitful production or, like me, we look around as we stand in the field of crows.

The good news of Jesus Christ needs no addendum. It requires no progression. Buried under the demands of expectation, “ought”, “should”, and “if only”, we hear an unconditional word of grace.