Yoga Theology: Prodigal Playlist

In my weekly yoga classes, I put as much thought into the music as the poses. While there are a number of playlists saved on my computer, I'm always eager to come up with a new roster of mostly worship music to accompany the "theme" of the class. As a Yahweh Yoga teacher, that theme always comes from Scripture. Sometimes the theme comes to me one hour before start time. Other times, I know for a week what it will be.

This week, the story of the prodigal son in Luke's gospel has refused to leave me alone. I was a little surprised. Tomorrow is All Saints' Day, and I had planned to focus on that in yoga class: remembering our loved ones and moving forward in hope. When I sat down to choose a playlist, my eye fell on a song and artist that I hadn't listened to in a long time: "Growing Young" by Rich Mullins--a song about the prodigal son by a singer-songwriter who referred to himself a "ragamuffin." As I listened to his beautiful, first-person interpretation of the beloved story, I saw clearly that I needed a prodigal playlist: songs that called us back to our Father's house, no matter how far we've wandered.

After assembling the list and choosing poses, I searched the internet for live recordings of "Growing Young." I came upon the video shared below, recorded at a 1994 concert. Rich Mullins is playing the guitar alongside his best friend and co-writer, Beaker. He introduces the song as one that was written quickly and easily for two reasons: it was their testimony, and it was the story of the lost son:

And when I thought that I was all alone
It was your voice I heard calling me back home
And I wonder now Lord
What it was that made me wait so long
And what kept You waiting for me all that time
Was Your love stronger than my foolish pride
Will You take me back now, take me back and let me be Your child
*

Rich Mullins and Beaker are not the only ones whose testimonies are those of prodigal sons. Whether or not we've spent our inheritance and lived with pigs, we've all fallen prey to foolish pride. We've all heard a voice calling us home that we ignore. We all live by a prodigal playlist. Every saint has been a prodigal. But every prodigal can also be transformed into a saint through God's grace.

'Cause I've been broken now, I've been saved
I've learned to cry, and I've learned how to pray
And I'm learning, I'm learning even I can be changed
*

Even I, even you, even all of us can be changed. All Saints' Day is not just a time to remember those who have passed on from this life to the next. It's a day that we celebrate change-- of lostness to found-ness, of death to life, of darkness to light.

In the last minute of the video, Rich Mullins looks directly into the camera, smiles, and sings, "We've sinned and grown old / But our Father still waits / And he watches down the road / To see the crying boy come running back to his arms." Three years after this concert was recorded, Rich Mullins was tragically killed in an automobile accident. He was only 41 years old when he entered into the fellowship of heavenly saints. The legacy he left with his music is not because he was the perfect "saint" as we tend to think of saints today. It was because he was a prodigal who smiled at the thought of his Father welcoming him Home.

So, dear friends, let us smile not just at the thought of running to God. Let us smile through our tears as we actually run to him right now--and "grow young" as his beloved children.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

I was unable to share the YouTube video directly in this post, but you may listen to the recording here. There are Dutch subtitles with it, so if you speak Dutch, you get a double blessing in the song!

* Lyrics to all of Rich Mullins' songs may be found at http://www.kidbrothers.net