For The Love Of The Ancient Of Days

Lyrics

What have I done, what have I said, when will I learn to just be silent instead

I stumble through my daily quest to find some peace of mind, my daily bread

Sometimes I walk this world preoccupied with the many ways I failed

the many times I tried

I struggle with my own insignificance because His magnificence

cannot be denied

 

How I long to touch His timeless face when I feel like dust just occupying space

I can wrap myself in His amazing Grace

 

CHORUS

Despite all my flaws, I gratefully raise my prayers and praise

to The Ancient of Days

Let my anxiety build, will my fears be fulfilled

all this can only be what He has willed

I humbly offer my praise for love of The Ancient of Days

 

When trials come, some come undone

Some take their eyes off the prize even while the race is being run

Some reach for earthly gold, and truth be told, they end up with none

We should shout the name of God from the highest elevation

We should teach eternal truth to every tongue and nation

I struggle with my own inexperience when I see His brilliant fingerprints

on every setting sun

 

What can I do for my brother today

Will my chance to serve arise, will I close my eyes and turn away

I should feed the hungry, I should clothe the poor, I should teach the children

to pray . . . TODAY

Washed in His blood, I am without stain, His temporary loss is my eternal gain

I laugh at all my so-called “good intentions”

When I feel His intervention on a cross of shame and pain

The Story

The quartet that features at the beginning of this piece is the brilliant work of German cellist Eugene Lifschitz.  I sent him a demo consisting of the vocal line backed by a programmed bassline to consider.  What he returned is pure genius – it captures the emotional content behind the concept perfectly.  It came from the day when I volunteered to help take the orphanage trash to a local dumpsite.

I was warned before departure that the dumpsite was adjacent to one of Port-au-Prince’s mass graves.  When The Great Quake killed over a quarter of a million Haitians in one fell swoop, Haiti’s infrastructure was overwhelmed.  It was decided that it was impossible to give every body a proper burial.  One predominating fear was that in the time that it would take survivors to perform such a mass number of committals, disease would gain a foothold and create a new crisis that could further decimate the populace.  So the decision was made to enact mass burials with a fleet of bulldozers.  A frightening and bizarre choice by modern standards, yes . . . but a wise decision nonetheless.

As we drove into the outer grounds of the dumpsite, our driver gestured towards a particular parcel of land in the distance.  It was well-levelled, obviously worked recently.  Then a collective ‘light bulb’ went on for the members of our crew.  “Is that the mass grave?” someone asked.  Our driver nodded somberly, then added, after a pause:  “14,000 buried.”

The impact of that statement was palpable.  We exchanged glances.  I think we understood that the depth of sorrow and suffering was impossible for us to grasp.  It’s what I came to call, in my own thoughts and writings, “the Haiti effect” – loss so profound that the only reasonable reaction is to simply be thankful for another day of life.

Which then turned my thoughts to God.  “All this can only be what He has willed,” is one line from the chorus of this song, and I know some listeners will misconstrue its meaning.  I DON’T mean that God intended for Haiti to suffer a mass disaster, or that hundreds of thousands would die, or that millions would suffer loss enough to last a lifetime.  I believe that disaster, death, and suffering pervade this world as a result of departure from God’s will, and that it was never part of God’s plan for human beings to suffer.  God gave humanity the gift of free will.  The choices we make ultimately bear a positive or negative end result.  Can bad things still happen to good people?  Yes.  Can I explain a natural disaster in a manner that would satisfy everyone?  No.  I’m no theologian, just a songwriter.  But I do believe that all human beings have access to salvation through Jesus Christ . . . and that it’s God will that we should choose to spend eternity with Him.

An eternity free from suffering, pain, and loss.

For The Love Of The Ancient Of Days (Sample)

by Troy Erickson | HAITI HYMNAL: A MISSION MEMOIR

Credits

Vocals – Troy Erickson

Trumpets – Matt Giella

 

Verse Cellos – Eugene Lifschitz

Harmony / Background Vocals – Shawn Holton

Guitar – Dan Monaco

Bass – Darrien Schottgenhorst

Chorus Cellos – Roman Sutcliffe

Drums / Percussion – Serge Terentev

Mixed / Mastered by Scott Horton (www.virtualmixengineer.com)

© Troy Erickson 2017