From Matt Papa’s bio on his website:
Matt Papa is as likely to quote G.K. Chesterton in casual conversation as he is to describe himself as a “weird dude.” He is a delightful combination of gifted musician and songwriter, loving husband, father of three girls, and inquisitive theologian. And with all those roles and attributes, he remains ever-focused on a singular goal: help people see the beauty and glory of Jesus.
Even the title of Papa’s latest album, Look & Live, indicates how his evangelistic desire is undergirded by a love of scripture. Who else would name an album after a strange passage in the book of Numbers? “In Numbers 21,” Papa says, “God’s people are in the wilderness, complaining and grumbling. God sends serpents to bite the people because of their disbelief.
They call out for mercy, and God says, ‘Okay, I’ll show you mercy,’ but He does it in a strange way. He makes a pole for people to look at and live. Jesus lets us know the reason for that in John 3: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”
Papa continues, bringing this remarkable story to the present day. “This album, and hopefully my life, is a call to every human being who is stuck in the muck of addiction, sin and selfishness, to lift up your head and to see that the only thing that can truly liberate you, the only thing that can truly captivate you…the beauty and glory of God.”
Throughout the album, Papa explores the human struggle between idolatry and worship. The album opens and closes with philosophical bookends, with the Gospel illuminating the center.
I love this album. My favorite song is called “The Ocean” which is based off a quote from Jonathan Edwards.
“In heaven alone is attainment of our highest good. God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” — Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733 (WJE Online Vol. 17)
Here’s the lyric video for “Oceans”
As we study Numbers this summer and into the fall, I highly recommend you check out “Look and Live” by Matt Papa. It’s definitely music we should hear.
Look and Live by Matt Papa
Do you have a favorite album you think we should feature in our series? Share in the comments, email us at MWSH@ashlandlex.org or tweet to us and use hashtag #MWSH