About The Song: Vanity of Vanities

So here's a little bit about one the songs coming your way....

Vanity of Vanities….

I was reading Ecclesiastes one day a few years ago….a book I have been greatly comforted by in recent times. I’ve always been sobered by the book, and by it’s cold way of telling the truth. I was also listening to a lot of Bob Dylan at the time, and there was this section toward the end of the book of Ecclesiastes that struck me like a Bob Dylan song. In that last chapter, the writer stars naming tons of seemingly random things - perhaps purposefully random since that was his frame of mind - everything under the sun is meaningless.


Ecclesiastes 12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Remember God in Your Youth

1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; 2 before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3 in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim; 4 and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly. 5 Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. 6 Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

They were such practical and random things, spoken in sequence, it felt for a moment I was listening to a tripping LSD’ed singer sing “hey Mr. Tamborine man”. So I made a Bob Dylan-y song out of it. A better theologian could probably offer some insights on the meaning of the list, I just thought they were interesting. And vain. And painful. A reminder that good things... end.

Snapshot: Songs from the Wilderness

Songs from the Wilderness is an album of 10 songs that I made with Isaac Wardell back in the fall of 2017.   It’s a lament record - songs of worship through a lens of sorrow.  Issac is a fantastic producer who embraces the raw elements of music production, so it works well with the songs.  And we had some great players play on the record, like Tyler Chester, Joe Dickey and others.  I hope you’ll enjoy this folky, rootsy album….I hope it can just sit next to you on some road trips and be a friend in the lonely hours.   In the winter of life.   xoxo - Matt


Christmas Hymn Writing at Calvin College

Christmas Hymn Writing at Calvin College

Matt Papa will join with Calvin College and a host of distinguished songwriters in March of 2018 to work on Christmas hymns for congregational singing to give a new voice to the Incarnation.

New Song Project: Every Last Word

New Song Project: Every Last Word

Ross King and Matt Papa are excited to release a new song project entitled "Every Last Word - A Scripture Songs Project." The songs for these releases are word-for-word scripture set to music.

"Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery" Featured on a New Getty Music Album

"Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery" Featured on a New Getty Music Album

Recorded live at SING! 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, Keith and Kristin Getty along with a feature performance by Matt Boswell included "Come Behold The...

Love ≠ Open-mindedness

We live in the “same love” culture.   The new ethic is sincerity.  If he’s into guys, cool.  If she’s into girls, ok.   If that’s his religion, then it’s true for him.  If she wants to kill it, then that’s her choice.  Don’t judge, don’t offend, don’t disrupt.

Chill out evangelicals.

Granted….and sadly…Christians haven’t been the most gracious when it comes to these topics.  However…

Love ≠ open-mindedness.

Love is intense.  We all know this.

Nearly everyday my kids sincerely don’t want to sit in their carseats.  What does love do?  “Ok, no big deal honey, sit wherever you want.”

No.

Love does this:  “Put your bottom in your carseat right now, or I will come put it there myself.”

If you have a friend who is making decisions that are ruining their life, love doesn’t stand by and watch it.  It sits them down…it gets in their face.

As it’s been said, the opposite of love is not hate.  It is indifference.

Love gets angry when the good of it’s beloved is threatened.

“To love is will the good of another.”  (T. Aquinas)

It turns out that our culture’s view of love is self-defeating.  If to love is to will the good of another, but in a culture of “non-judgmentalism” and “tolerance” a standard of good is lost,then love is lost.

Truth without love is bigotry, and quite often, Christians have been bigots.  But love without truth is cowardice.  And we live in a culture of cowards.

Stand up.  Do something.  Say something.  For love’s sake.  Be cool or be loving.  You can’t be both.

“Drawn away from love of the thing he tells…”

Below is an excerpt from chapter 9 of C.S. Lewis’ powerful book “The Great Divorce”…brimming with insights for anyone involved in the arts or communication.

A little context….”The Great Divorce” is a story about a group of “ghosts” from purgatory or hell who take a bus trip to the foothills of heaven where they meet “spirits” who urge them to journey upward. Lewis brilliantly paints here, as he does in so many of his works, the hollowness of selfishness and the “thickness” or reality of love, beauty, and selflessness.

I was recently reminded of this section and wanted to post it, (especially) as a way to help to those who help us see…to my songwriting, preaching, painting, book-writing, instrument-strumming friends out there….who constantly strain…who continually squint…trying to further comprehend the Glory.  But why comprehend it?  Why communicate it?

That is Lewis’ question to us…..

====================================

“God!” said the Ghost, glancing round the landscape.

“God what?” asked the Spirit.

“What do you mean, ‘God what’?” asked the Ghost.

“In our grammer God is a noun.”

“Oh-I see. I only meant ‘By Gum’ or something of the sort. I meant . . . well, all this. It’s . . . it’s … I should like to paint this.”

“I shouldn’t bother about that just at present if I were you.”

“Look here; isn’t one going to be allowed to go on painting?”

“Looking comes first.” “But I’ve had my look. I’ve seen just what I want to do. God!-I wish I’d thought of bringing my things with me!”

The Spirit shook his head, scattering light from his hair as he did so. “That sort of thing’s no good here,” he said.

“What do you mean?” said the Ghost.

“When you painted on earth-at least in your earlier days-it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.”

“Then there’s never going to be any point in painting here?”

“I don’t say that. When you’ve grown into a Person (it’s all right, we all had to do it) there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else. One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them. But not yet. At present your business is to see. Come and see. He is endless. Come and feed.”

There was a little pause. “That will be delightful,” said the Ghost presently in a rather dull voice.

“Come, then,” said the Spirit, offering it his arm.

“How soon do you think I could begin painting?” it asked.

The Spirit broke into laughter. “Don’t you see you’ll never paint at all if that’s what you’re thinking about?” he said.

“What do you mean?” asked the Ghost.

“Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.”

“But that’s just how a real artist is interested in the country.”

“No. You’re forgetting,” said the Spirit. “That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.”

“Oh, that’s ages ago,” said the Ghost. “One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.”

“One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.”

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That you may not be drawn away from love of the Thing you tell,

Matt

Trust (a poem)

The commandment comes,

“Do this I say,

cross not this line,

go not that way”

 

My fallen soul,

it writhes within,

it pouts and doubts

and seethes with sin

 

“I cannot do

this thing Love asks!

For shall I not

my freedom have?”

 

And so I choose

to disobey,

and flex my

suicidal strength

 

And as I fall

into a pit,

’tis not the freedom

that I meant.

 

Waste.

 

A tender hand

but strong, I feel,

and to my awe

no sword it wields

 

It pulls me out,

it cleanses me,

it chides me not,

but gently leads

 

Me to the place

where feet can stand,

a rock of grace

that never ends

 

“Oh Father, why?

How could you be

so patient with

a worm like me?”

 

I cling unto

this hand of love

that ever finds me

though I run

 

And now a dawn

within my soul,

this goodness

shall not let me go.

 

Rest.

 

The commandment comes,

“Do this I say,

cross not this line,

go not that way”

 

My heart of stone

is melted now,

and to this Word

I freely bow

 

The good hand points

and lo I see,

an altar there

prepared for me

 

This wooden-grace,

I cling to climb

My doubts erased

His promise mine

 

I lie upon it

peaceful, still,

a child who loves

his Father’s will.

 

Trust.

In The Studio…

Hi friends-

I’m writing you today from Nashville, TN, where I am incredibly thankful and excited to be recording my 4th full-length studio album.  God is good.  I feel more grateful than ever before to be able to create art for a living, and more grateful than ever for people like you who allow me to continue to do so through your prayers and support.  I am working hard to create music that adorns God’s Name, God’s people, and God’s world, and that’s why I’m writing to you today.

Would you take 60 seconds and pray for us?  Pray that God would take joy in what He hears. Pray that the music we make would point to the beauty of Jesus Christ. Pray that through this album people would see His glory more clearly. Pray that through this album, the Church would be encouraged, the lost would be converted, and that missionaries would be created. That’s why I do what I do.

Thank you!  Your prayers infinitely matter.

The new album, entitled “LOOK & LIVE”, is set to release early fall of this year.  Producing on the album is Stu G, former guitar player of the band Delirious.  It is sounding fantastic and I am thrilled to get these songs to you, and to serve you in this way.

Please stay tuned through twitter, Facebook, etc. for updates and exclusives about the album.

Blessings to you today, in Christ-

Matt