With self-promotion, I’m even struggling with that. Two hurricanes have leveled two states—one state, and one massive city that’s almost the size of a state. And then I’m supposed to go online and promote my record? I’d rather talk about, “Hey, there’s still people who haven’t been able to remove the mold that’s grown in their homes in Houston and they’re gonna get terribly sick unless someone helps them with that..” And the news cycle’s moved-on because the president’s saying something else outrageous about something else. So, it is hard, I think that Christians more than ever have to really rely on the grace of God to be extremely present, extremely mindful, and not just get caught up in every other trend or every other fad, what ever it is.

CCM: You recently were able to meet Pope Francis, what was that like, and what was your takeaway specifically of his comments on worship?
MM: I think what he said about worship or teaching young kids to worship, it was a real affirmation from the Holy Spirit in terms of just to say, “Keep doing what you’re doing.” I think I have struggled with it, in the sense of, “Really? I’m just gonna sing songs about God when there’s all this abject suffering going on? And you want me to sing a song like “Great Is Thy Faithfulness?” But when you understand the story of that hymn—you realize that so many of the stories of these great hymns are actually born out of lives, very human lives. They were not perfect. “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” right? I wrote a song based on it. You would think that guy must have had such a great life. He was engaged twice and both fiancees died. It’s just like it’s more and more inescapable that I think the joy is meant for the darkest moments of the human condition.

My family has this real propensity to laugh during hardship. During my dad’s funeral-and-stuff, I hadn’t laughed that much in a long time. Some people would think that’s such a weird thing, but that was my dad’s family, they always found a reason to laugh. So, I guess how that all connects is, things that are true are always true. They’re not untrue just because the circumstances of life look different. And so saying, “God is faithful,” is a true statement. And it’s true even when it doesn’t feel like He is because from a human perspective, we’re limited.

Matt Maher, CCM Magazine - image

CCM: We were struck at how you alluded to the lyrics of “Just As I Am,” and how that although it was written in the early 1800s, many might think that it was written out of response to what’s going on in the world today…
MM: Oh, it’s hilarious… I think that is part of the temptation of narcissism is to think that somehow, we’re the most unique generation ever in human history. And I think that it takes a sense of humility to go, “You know what? The same questions and doubts and fears that I’m having, King David had in the scriptures.” And I actually find a sense of comfort and a sense of community in that. It’s our suffering that unites us. It’s our brokenness, it’s our wounds that are the things that we have in common. But I think it takes a certain level of vulnerability to admit that. But I think when we do, it creates an openness and a space for real connection to happen.


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