Little Pictures of Hope

Ken Medema, as regular Sojourners readers know, is blind. He is a real gift to all of us because he sees things that the rest of us don't see. In Little Pictures, he shares with us stories inspired by pictures from his past. "Some catch me looking so stupid and weak. Some make me seem brave and strong," he says in his title cut. The question that haunts him, he says, is "Where do all these pictures belong?"

They all belong somewhere. Medema is obsessed with hope, as he said in a 1995 Sojourners interview. Hope that endures comes from the ability to see Jesus in every stupid, weak, brave, or strong circumstance in our lives. Medema not only has the ability to see, he also has the ability to open our eyes so that we, too, can see, and therefore maintain hope. He's done this in his live gigs, including his work in "Let Justice Roll!" events (in which he shared the stage with Sojourners' Jim Wallis).

Little Pictures is full of hope-inducing songs, especially "Journey Down," which reminds us that the only way for our outer journey to have meaning is to look inside at our big bad shadow: "Hello shadow, I'm coming down to meet you./I only want to know you cause I know I can't defeat you./I'm coming to make peace with all the friends and foes/And phantoms I will find, walking down the stairways of my mind./Well I know the journey's frightening and I'm begging for some time."

The listener is encouraged to heed Jesus' most frequent commandment, "Fear not!" The lyrics of "Journey Down" are interspersed with "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." In "Dance in the Cross Roads," Medema encourages us to make the crossroads where people meet a place of dancing and not of fear.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2000
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