S8E6: Sandra McCracken on Christmas and Songwriting

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Summary

How do songwriters lean into faith in their work? What unique challenges has this year brought to musicians, and how can Christians reclaim the joy of corporate worship, even while we’re apart? Joanna and Dustin talk with recording artist Sandra McCracken about the intersection of faith and songwriting, her latest album, and the hope of Christmas.

Highlights

On the intersection of songwriting and faith:

“When I approached songwriting, I just really want to uphold God’s light in the world in the way that we see it go out. So sometimes that’s a country song, sometimes that’s a worship song, it could be all kinds of things. But when I think about the craft of songwriting, it’s looking for the illumination of God in the world.”

On roadblocks and disruptions:

“Lately, the thing that is most life giving is just time apart from productivity. It’s not just ‘rest;’ you don’t have to accomplish something…The quiet is the thing that helps me to be more self-forgetful. It’s like getting past all the noise in your head and sitting there long enough to take a deep breath and realize: ‘it’s going to be okay.’ So if you’re anxious about not being able to produce a song, or not being able to get your work done, that doesn’t actually help you make a song or get your work done. But if you can just step back and realize we’re just here, we can really be still in that place, then the good stuff flows out without the same white knuckled energy.”

On the challenges of socially distanced corporate worship:

“I think it can be acknowledged that there’s going to be some loss from that. We can acknowledge before God that we miss this, and that this is what we’re made for, and that we’re in a time when that’s actually not accessible to us. It’s not permanent; I think about Psalm 126 when God’s people are in exile, and the people that are their oppressors are telling them they want them to sing these old songs. They’re like, ‘We don’t want to sing the songs. We don’t want to sing the songs of being at home, and we won’t do it for you.’ There’s this defiance, but it’s a season–it’s not the final word on these people…Trusting God in the times when we are in the fog, or in the wilderness, is exactly what faith is.”

Resources

Learn more about Sandra McCracken and her two recent albums, Christmas and Patient Kingdom.

Download the episode transcript.

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