Among the Americana gems on Amos Lee’s soulful Mission Bell is the Gospel-fueled “Jesus.” Handclaps and dirty guitar lead the way into the call-and-response chorus. It’s as pointed as any of the complaint Psalms, the Psalms of the Old Testament that take the pain right up to the throne of God. The chorus is a cry for God’s help, even while the verse admits to feeling wild and free, feeling as if life could go on without acknowledging the divine. But then the speaker admits that his heart “was a skipping stone/But now the world has jaded me/Oh, corrupted and defeated me.”
Then the turning point of faith:
You know I never felt you hated me,
But I never felt so alone.
As much as the speaker is feeling alone, feeling separated from Jesus, feeling as if he’s alone in a world that’s left him “corrupted and defeated,” still he senses God’s love. Jesus doesn’t hate him. There’s still hope. There’s still some way in which he can be restored to God.
This psalm of complaint closes out with the cries for Jesus’ help while the instruments clang and challenge the present state of affairs. It’s as bluesy as the album gets, and it’s a deep-seated blues ripe for prayer vigils, counseling, meditation, and preaching inspiration for days when we need to know that we can walk right up to the throne of God, approach Him through Jesus, and call upon Him in every kind of trouble.