The Top Ten Moments of Resurrection Letters, Volume 2

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Resurrection Letters, Volume II is artful and beautiful. We’ve come to expect that from Andrew Peterson’s work, haven’t we? Like magnet to steel, we detect a divine pull. With the rising sun, the voice of beauty beckons. Something important is about to be illuminated. Melody after melody, phrase upon phrase, the Tennessee songwriter with a Barnabas heart imparts familiar truths unconventionally. Despite tackling some of the same topics as other Christian songwriters, it usually feels like we are getting a remarkably different take; one that burrows inside the emotional truth far deeper than might be expected from songs that are less nuanced and thoughtful.

peterson-resurrection-letters-vol-2.jpgAndrew Peterson is a born storyteller; fundamentally, his songs are great stories. As we turn each page of a suspenseful novel, so this man’s songs compel us similarly, as heads metronomically nod to the time of the music, in empathetic agreement. Each line fuels a desire to hear the next. And though a Peterson song routinely elicits surprise, if we look closely, we might see an oft-repeated pattern, which confirm the contemplative method by which these songs were built.

The first verse establishes a theme. Like a prophecy or parable, verse one is often a type of that which is to come. In succeeding verses, the type is developed more expansively, majestically and/or divinely. Routinely, from the AP pen, we discover—if we have ears to hear—that each line has a corresponding line from prior verses, similar, but different. Each line depicts something specific to the verse where it is found, but also cleverly corresponds to the other verses.

For example, notice how angels show up in all three verses of “Rise and Shine” from Carried Along. We find references to sleeping and waking (rising and shining) in all three verses. Later, the bridge literately links to the chorus, which magically and succinctly solidify the song into a cohesive whole. Though each verse tells related but different stories, the chorus applies accurately and appropriately to all three verses.

So as we (for this is a joint exercise) prepare for the task of identifying the top moments of Resurrection Letters, Volume II, please note that it is a somewhat trivial exercise. As AP continues to hone his considerable songwriting gift, it’s become indelibly obvious that Peterson songs are compelling because at their heart, they are superb stories. There’s nothing wrong with parsing lyrical passages and musical moments from Resurrection Letters, Volume II, but let’s be clear: these songs are best appreciated as a complete, cohesive package. The regal beauty of this collection of songs is found in the seamless, thematic congruency. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun!

So, without further ado, here they are, the Top Ten Moments from Resurrection Letters, Volume II.

1. “Raise up, oh you sleeper,” the opening line from “All Things New.” It’s an Andy Gullahorn vocal contribution. Like another biblical mandate, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear,” it none to subtly signals that, “If we snooze, we lose” (now you know why AP doesn’t take songwriting tips from me!). Co-written with Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn, this song is eloquent encouragement, a reminder that God doesn’t see the utter black of guilt and shame. He sees Jesus’ sacrificial atoning blood. With a suspenseful string prelude (honorable mention for the best moment in this song), with megaphone in hand, Gullahorn reminds us why there is reason to awake: “The dawn is upon you.”

2. The resounding chorus of “Hosanna,” another Peterson/Shive/Gullahorn cooperative, easily makes the top ten. The celestial hook is made more magnificent by the harsh, vivid indictments which precede it. The more a heart surrenders to the will of God, the more it recognizes its need for a Savior. The stately choir sings this melody with intense passion. With soaring harmonies, one can almost catch a vision of the King of Kings cresting the mountain, on a white horse he will ride (sorry, I didn’t mean to channel my inner Michael Martin Murphy there).

3. The beautiful irony of “Invisible God.” While the lyrics explicitly acknowledge the outlandish idea of a personal relationship with a transcendent God, it also affirms intelligent design—not from an arcane textbook—but from astounding evidence advanced in the process of living. This lyrical cousin to “Windows in the World” is a gentle reminder—the infamous velvet-gloved fist—that we divorce ourselves from God with a willful choice to ignore the evidence. “If any man has ears to hear, let him hear,” is not only a nice piece of biblical sarcasm, it’s is profound reminder that if we listen, we will hear. If we look, we will see.

4. “… and you set me free with that ball and chain ..,” the line from “Hosea.” This is another example of the way in which Andy’s perceptive, contrarian perspective sheds light on profound theological truth.

5. The evocative richness of “Love is a Good Thing.”It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade when all that used to matter is blown away,” is one metaphorical example of many used in this song which vividly describe the irony of being held captive by Christ. Like the ball and chain that gripped Gomer, Love is a good thing.

6. There’s a magnificent goosebump moment in “Don’t Give Up on Me” which follows this great passage, which others have noted: “I have felt the holy fire of love, been burned by the holy fire of love, made clean by the holy fire of love.”

In the last verse as the singer wakes up in the golden dream, something happens to the texture of the musical canvas which elegantly move the listener from his own place, right into the middle of the singer’s dream. I’m a reviewer guy and as such should have some kind of dispassionate curiosity of how the Shive/Gullahorn/Peterson team created this moment. But like good sausage, I just want to bask in its utter goodness; seeing behind the curtain might somehow reduce the charm of the moment. With the, “Now I wake up in a golden dream,” line, I feel the crisp air, I hear the birds sing, I see a striking celestial glow. I feel this magical, supernatural moment which sonically reproduces a sliver of the majesty found in the unknowingly saturated moments of daily living. Man, I’m there. Man, woman, and child, each one of is there.

7. For consequential revelry, how about the song, “Rocket?” So, I have to pick one moment? How about this line?: ” … to count down the seconds, as destiny beckons into the arms of the astral glow.” Maybe it’s not appropriate, and maybe I’m stretching the resurrection theme too far, but I can’t keep myself from following the resurrection theme in “Rocket”—please forgive me—for imagining Jesus wearing a jetpack as He disappears into the clouds, while the disciples stare skyward.

8. “Windows in the World” is a handcrafted masterpiece, a prototype of AP’s songwriting method as noted earlier. While he could have chosen many things, he picked movies, Communion, and marriage to illustrate “windows in the world.” Besides the beauty of the overall concept, my favorite aspect of this song is the songwriter’s choice of marriage as one example of what some call “layered songwriting.” The earthly window of marriage is a reflection—a type—of Christ’s love for the Church. “It’s a window in the world, a little portal where you get a better view.” Indeed.

9. The Bridge in “I’ve Got News.” “So you think you don’t need anyone to love you? So you think you don’t need anyone to love. But you do.” In this section, the normally poetic AP writes uncharacteristically direct.

I’m a loner. I have great friends and family, with whom I enjoy spending time. Still, given a choice, my natural inclination is to do what I do alone: books, movies, and music. Me and my art. Then one night I dreamed that my wife of 28 years was gone. The dream was lucid, as was the pain. And guess what? The pain was at least one hundred times worse than I would have guessed. It was palpable. I started to cry the kind of cry that was so deep that I couldn’t catch my breath. I remembered the unspeakable love that I have for my wife. And it changed my behavior (for a half day or so, which is a miracle at my house).

Part Three of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People discusses interdependence as being a higher calling than dependence and independence. Then there’s Galations 6:2-3 — Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

We were meant to love. We were meant to be loved. Once again, our friend Andrew Peterson uses his own personal transparency to bless us, reminding us of something we may have known, but buried. Like a dog and his bone, we bury our personal wounds. We don’t want anybody to see it, steal it, or touch it. Grrr.

10. When the choir joins in on the chorus of “The Good Confession (I Believe).” In a most moving way, we hear tacit agreement that the story of one of us is to some extent, the story of us all. The only thing more moving, would be to have the historical Church join in—the disciples, Joseph, Mary, David, Moses, and Abraham singing along too. Some day, they will. I’ve often said that the most moving art is that art which compresses a lifetime of emotion into one work. It’s a formidable challenge, a challenge which AP has navigated successfully, and then some. For we sense the weighty significance of not only our respective lives, but how those individual pieces fit collectively into the Church. My story, yours, the story of our forefathers and apostolic fathers and their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, it’s the same story, written with supreme, infinite wisdom by the Author of Love. That, my friends, brings glory to God. After all, it’s what He wrought. At the end of the day, that’s why I support Andrew Peterson’s music.

So, now it’s your turn. I purposely waited for a few weeks to write this, giving us both the opportunity to listen and reflect. My top ten happen to be the group I chose today. Tomorrow will be different. It’s that kind of record. Nevertheless, don’t let the difficulty of the task hold you back. What are your favorite moments from Resurrection Letters, Volume II?    


30 Comments

  1. Stephen Lamb

    @stephen-lamb

    Great review, Curt. Thanks. Sometimes when I hear a great album or see a really good movie, I’m glad I’m not a professional critic, so that I don’t have to try to put my listening or viewing experience into words, don’t have to try to articulate everything I loved about it. That’s how I still feel about this record. So I’ll hold off for now from writing about my favorite moments.

  2. Russ Ramsey

    @russramsey

    Curt, number 6 is right on, brother. There’s something about “Don’t Give Up On Me” that exposes my heart. I sooooo appreciate the hope in the line “Do you remember how it felt just like we died and rose again.” This is not only one of my favorite AP songs, it is one of my favorite songs period, I think.

  3. Peter B

    Ah, Curt, the giver of credit where credit is due. Your dream story should change us all a bit.

    There’s no denying, that first “Rise up, O you sleeper” floated by Andy G. was all I needed to yank me in.

    Fun story about number 2: I was talking my oldest daughter (6) — who tends to have less than the average attention span (I’m sure it’s just because she’s so intelligent) — about Jesus’ last trip to Jerusalem, and stopped to talk about what the people said, and what the word meant… and she, who had heard RL II in the car that day for the very first time, said “Hey, I heard a song about that today”… and then sang that begging, triumphant plea from the chorus. I obviously want my little ones to see Christ for who he is, and of course the beauty he crafts through AP’s music is one way to communicate that.

    Number 10 — oh, man. That chorus hits me every time.

    For me, the part in Rocket where you first realize where he’s going with the analogy (“they say the ground is gonna quake and groan; they say the sound’s gonna shake my bones”) just shot through me like 240 volts from an ungrounded socket. Side note: Given AP’s deliberate, purposeful songwriting, I’d like to hear more about the connection between the “golden dream” in Don’t Give Up On Me and the “golden dream” in Rocket, less than a minute later.

    Of course there are plenty of less-dramatic moments — like when you recognize the melody from Hosannaas an echo of the triumph to come in High Noon — that have just as much value. Man, now I have to go listen again.

  4. Breann

    The line from “Rocket” that says, “defied destruction to ride the eruption” has done a work in me. Just when you’re at the point of being blown to smithereens, somehow you’re thrust upward.

  5. Billy Marsh

    Andrew there are so many things I love about Resurrection Letters. It truly is an incredible album. But for me, in order to keep this short, I’ll only give what is my top moment of listening to the entire record.

    There is just something about singing, “I believe, he is the Christ, Son of the living God” over and over again. This past spring I finished teaching verse-by-verse through the Gospel of John for our church’s adult Sunday School class, and was able to close out the class focusing upon John’s explicit purpose statement for writing his Gospel account where he says, “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (Jn 20:31).” This aspect of the Scriptures and the faith has been heavily on my heart and mind ever since. Life also since then has shown my and wife I many new challenges, and if I was not able to cry out, “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” I would crumble.

    It seems that some have taken “artistic” only to mean “abstract,” but I appreciate so much that you have not made that conclusion. Christians can be artistic, and yet also be direct and concrete in how we express our faith creatively. And for me, the confessional nature of the album is what gives it its great value, and does so without eclipsing quality and creativity.

    I can’t say it or sing it enough: “Yes Lord, I believe! Oh Lord, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God! I believe in his atonement for sins! I believe in his triumphant resurrection and ascension on high to your right hand at the throne! I believe he is returning to make all things new, once and for all, forever! Oh Lord, help my unbelief! God, use my belief lead others to believe in your Son, and to gaze upon your beauty, and to know you as the greatest treasure! Today has been horrible, but I believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that in him, to me all the promises of God are “Yes,” and I have a hope that will not disappoint!”

    Thank you for writing us a song to sing with you and all the saints that will continue to encourage us to confess Christ and to strengthen our belief in Jesus, the Lord of Glory. God has already used it tremendously in my life.

  6. Steve Narrow

    Curt, I so can’t wait to meet you in person at Thanksgiving and wax about this and that over lunch. I suppose that it’s our age proximity which connects us to our musical proximity… that makes me seem to agree with most of your work.

    I’m struck by “The Good Confession” and particularly by the two words “I Believe”. Andrew has (as if this isn’t a familiar refrain) once again, boiled down lofty theology into what is, for me, the simple understatement of God that we often miss… HIS request for our confession that I believe. So small the words, but in the context of our relationship to and the redemption of our great God, so big the meaning.

    I’m reminded of the KISS principal (Keep it simple stupid!)

    Steve

  7. Anrew W

    I love the background vocals of “Invisible God.” They take the song to a depth in me that stirs me up everytime. When I hear that song, and specifically the lines whith the backing vocals, I imagine a plane flying over a vast wilderness slowly surveying the grand creation God has made.

  8. Tom Bubb

    I love so many moments on this album but the one that strikes me right now is Eric Peters’ soaring harmonies on Rocket. They give the song a very different feel and I love it! I would also love to know the significance of using the phrase Golden Dream two times in quick succesion.

  9. Aaron Roughton

    The drum fill when AP sings “They say the ground is going to quake and groan” is a simple pleasure for me. The drums are like the rocks crying out…at least I imagine they’ll cry out like drums. The musical change when he sings lines like “Hold on to the promise, the stories are true” in All Things New, or the musical tension in the line “You’ve crushed beneath Your heel the vile serpent” in Hosanna are treats that I wait for during the songs. The very metallic percussion behind Hosea is brilliant. I could go on and on.

    But my number one moment is the end of I Believe. Bring in the choir at the end of a song and I’m weepy. Stay with me here…The end of the Justin Timberlake song Losing My Way gets me every time. (I probably shouldn’t be mentioning JT so soon after posting about my Christian boyband experience…) But the end of I Believe isn’t a gimmick. It brings me home. It’s a communal confession that makes me think that heaven might not be boring afterall. (What are we going to do…FOREVER???) Lord, I want to be in that number…

    This album sits so differently with me than any album I’ve purchased…maybe ever. I can’t put the difference into words yet, but it has something to do with the motive behind the music. So many people make so much art with so many motives. But Resurrection Letters II passes through all of my skeptical filters unharmed, unchanged, whole. Every note proclaims and draws upon the magnificent grace and glory of God. Thanks Andrew.

    By the way, Curt, after your podcast I can now I “hear” you reading what you write in your radio voice. It makes your already fantastic reviews even better. Thanks for listening to the music we love so intentionally.

  10. Tony Heringer

    Curt,

    Clever concept my friend. Like your, my list could be done and re-done each time I listen. However, there are certain aspects or phrases of Barlimans’ songs that always jump out when I listen to his music. For example, On Carried Along it’s “poets of the picket sign” in the song “Come, Lord Jesus”. With that in mind, if I think about these kinds of things, I’d say:

    1 and 2. Love Is A Good Thing: The phrasing on the “take cover” lines stand out in the song emotionally, but then it grabs you. Where am I finding cover? In the shadow of the Almighty. So, the hook and song is closed with the line “do not fear”. The “place” or Person of shelter is not stated, but implicitly confirmed by the universal saying of God and His angels.

    3. All You’ll Ever Need: Easily my favorite song on this album. I liked it when I first heard it through the link you provided here in the Room and Barliman really plays this song out live. So, much so I couldn’t get it out of my head. The next day in worship I was overwhelmed as we sang the hymn “Nothing But The Blood” closing it out by singing the last line a cappella. Phew! Again, the phrasing of “I need it” is what grips me with this song and throws me forward to the next lines and brings me back ’round to that line again.

    4. I’ve Got News: The story that goes with this song makes it even better but even before I knew the backstory, I loved this song and the comfort it brings. Teacher/Author Steve Brown used to open up his sermons with this line “Cheer up, you’re a lot worse than you think you are.” but was quick to couple it with “Cheer up, God’s grace is a lot bigger than you think it is.” We look out at all the “got it together people” and think “Sure God loves them, but He will never love me.” This song puts that rubbish in a nice lyrical bin.

    5. Don’t Give Up On Me – I’ll just say Amen to the comments from you and Russ. The emotional punch of the two lines you guys point out slay me. There is almost a growl in Barliman’s voice when he gets to “made clean by the holy fire of love” recalling the Lion of Judah in my mind.

    6. Hosea – “you lovable, gullible, man” Again, phrasing, how those words are syncopated in music and voice.

    7. Invisible God – reminds me of “The Color Green” by Rich Mullins. It’s probably the piano work but the lyrics themselves seem to be a tribute to the man whom Barliman is compared to a lot.

    8. Rocket – It still doesn’t seem to fit the concept. Curt your description probably gives it the most merit to be included on an album whose theme is related to the resurrection of Christ. Love this line: “’cause gravity binds us but glory defines us.” It’s a fun song and once I quit trying to make it fit, I’ve really gotten into it.

    9. All Things New – The line which sounds like “world was good, world is fallen, world be redeemed” stresses that when Jesus says all, He means all and that this world we are in will be redeemed from the hurt and pain we’ve caused it. That’s a “green program” that will be 100% effective.

    10. Windows In The World – “you love to see the hero save the day” echoes the sentiment I have for why my favorite movie moments are my favorites. They usually involve the hero saving the day. To me this points to our ultimate Hero who will come and rescue His Beauty the Church one fine day soon whether there is a theater nearby or not.

    For example, think about the closing scene in “You’ve Got Mail.” Where does Tom meet Meg? In a garden. What’s the closing song? “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which is connected to the line “There’s no place like home.” What’s heaven? Our home. Every time I see that scene my heart aches. Similar to a scene in “The Patriot” – here’s this tough, bloody Mel Gibson movie with this aching scene of a little girl running into the arms of her father crying “Pappa!” and the hero saying “I’ll come back. I promise.” If you heart is not aching here it is probably dead; call 911. The funny thing is, what came to mind recently in connection with this song was Rocky Balboa. My wife and I catch each other crying in the midst of these goofy movies – Yo!

  11. Mark Geil

    I’m going to cheat. My favorite “moment” on the album is the complete mastery of paradox and contraditction.
    “When it’s all you have, it’s all you’ll ever need.”
    “I see you everywhere, Invisible God”
    “You set me free with that ball and chain.”
    “It knocked me down, it dragged me out, it left me there for dead… it’s a good thing.”
    And my favorite, about which I’ll copy a paragraph from my review of the album:

    “The powerful opener is followed by one of the best songs I’ve heard in ages, Hosanna, which captures the bewildering contrast between the triumphal entry and the crucifixion, played out in the inner struggle of sin and redemption. Peterson’s first-person songs are often my favorites, and this is as personal and confessional as it gets. Each statement of the darkness of man – “I have cursed the man that you have made me / I have nursed the beast that bays for my blood / I have run from the one who would save me” – is followed by the same not-quite-defeated cry of praise voiced by the soon-to-be-crucifying mob on Palm Sunday, “Hosanna”. Like so many songs on the album, the darkness finds its dawn in the victory of Christ. “I will lift my voice and sing / You have come and washed me clean / Hosanna.” The musical movement of percussion and strings follow the emotion of the redeemed sinner from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday.”

    You know what? Maybe I do have a single favorite moment. It’s when that word pops back up again, at the end of The Good Confession: “Oh, Hosanna, I believe.”

  12. Randall

    Over this past weekend (I think it was Friday) NASA launched the Endeavor into the sky and I was hanging out with some friends watching it on tv and I had “Rocket” playing in the background. The energy and feeling of that song matched all of our wonder and excitement. We then all ran outside to see if we could see the rocket (I still had my ipod playing that song). Standing out there and listening to those lyrics I couldn’t help but be caught up in the wonder of how big our world is and how God is even bigger. It was a really wonderful and moving experience.

    (Oh, and close runner up is All Things New. There is something about the instrumentation of that song that just makes you giddy with excitement).

  13. Stephen

    The bridge of “Hosanna” is absolutely breath taking. The climax of this song, while maintaining musical excellence, is lyrically triumphant. As the grievances against Jesus Christ list on and on, the listener almost looses hope. Then he gets hit with the bridge. Sin has been vanquished! Death is no more! Rejoice! What a comforting thought that every sin has been defeated. Hosanna.

  14. Chris

    I, like everyone else, have so many favorite parts of this CD, but the first of a couple that really stick out is in the song “Don’t Give up on Me”. I’ve had a couple friends over the past several years that have lost infants or young children and watched them bury the most precious parts of their lives with the hope and assurance that one day they’ll be together with them in heaven. “Now I wake up in a golden dream. Angel voices in the rooms where the children run…all covered in light.” Not sure what the original intention of that line was, but I hear it as a beacon of hope for those parents.

    Secondly, I love “The Good Confession” as a fellow son of a “preacher man” who had a similar experience growing up. Being the father of an eight year old little boy who is contemplating making this same decision is just icing on the cake for me.
    Thanks AP.

  15. April

    Many of my favorite moments have already been mentioned, but here’s another:
    “They are laying down their lives for love and Love is laying waste to all my fears” in “Windows in the World.” This line has been echoing through my mind lately. There’s just something special about the melody, the connection between human love and Love, and the way the phrase is beautifully balanced and symmetrical.

  16. becky

    Tony said: “Rocket – It still doesn’t seem to fit the concept.”

    Tony, there are two big connections in my mind. First, Christ was a rocket, set up on a hill. Bound by the pull of this earth–sin and death. Defined by glory. Submitting to the greater pull of a perfect will. The ground quaked, and bones were shaken awake to walk on this earth again. He defied destruction and broke the power of this earth. Second, we will be rockets. Someday this earth is going to quake and moan, and our bones will be shaken awake by the sound of the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. We will defy destruction, breaking free from the power of this earth–gravity, sin, and death–and rise to meet Him in the “great wide open.” I don’t know if this is what Andrew is talking about in this song, but this is what it says to me. And why it belongs on this album.

  17. leslie

    “all i know is that i was blind but now i see, though i kick and scream, love is leading me.”

    it’s funny how certain songs or phrases will impact you in a way your not quite expecting or prepared for. honestly i feel like this entire album does that at different points every time i listen to it. but as i was playing it the other night, when it got to this line i suddenly burst into tears, which soon turned into uncontrolled sobs. it touched me in a very personal and powerful way for two reasons:

    1. i thought of one of my closest friends, who has struggled for the past five years. recently he said that the only thing that keeps him from completely losing all faith in God is that while he’s tried so hard to run away, over and over again he has felt God’s faithful pursuit after him.

    2. i pictured my 3 year old nephew lying on the floor crying for whatever it is he wants, and the whole time i’m standing there ready to give it to him. “simon, you can have it. just calm down and come here.” how often do i beg God for a deeper faith, a closer walk, a greater passion? i dig my heals in and cry for Him to transform me, and all the while He’s standing there ready to do just that. “leslie, you can have it! just come here.”

  18. Leonie

    my favourite of all the album has to be Hosanna, this i keep on repeat whilst im working; i can listen to this over and over. For me it speaks of much of my experience of others and also myself. i sing away as a prayer for others as much as for myself. ” i have struggled to remove this raiment tried to hide every shimmering strand” it is a beautiful track. i love the drums throughout the tune (gets me tapping away at my desk and dancing about the kitchen) and the rythm of the chorus- sorry thats about as musically specific i can do! the lyrics are reallly cool- i love the bit ”won’t you tear this temple down raise it up on Holy ground” from the heart!

  19. sevenmiles

    You all have covered most of my thoughts. I will add that Hosea is a rare song, touching on themes and Scripture that don’t get enough exposure in art or sermon.

    I’d also say the BGVs on Hosea and Rocket are some of the coolest I’ve heard. The overall musicality of this album is just wonderful.

  20. Tony Heringer

    Becky,

    Between you and Curt, there may be a convincing argument for “Rocket” being connected to the theme. However, it still seems like a song that was a tribute to a friend. If you listen to Barliman’s commentary on the song (Rabbit Room podcast 5 http://www.rabbitroom.com/?p=1147 ) that seems to be the case.

    Nothing wrong with that, but it just felt out of place if the idea is this is a concept album. The concept, as stated by Barliman on the back of the CD, is that the “songs are bound together by the theme of the resurrection in our lives.” I can marry up each song but this one to that idea. You and Curt put forth some interesting ties, but this seems to be pressing more meaning into the song than intended. It just seems like a fun song about a family experience. It’s a fun song though.

  21. JJ

    My favorite moment is this part of the bridge on Don’t Give Up On Me:

    “You were there when I shook my fist at the sky.
    You were there when I fell to the earth and cried.”

    I’m a newlywed, but there have been moments before and since we got married where she was there in both of those situations. It touches me on such a personal level that I fall even deeper in love with my wife when I hear (and sing along with) those words.

  22. becky

    Tony, I read the CD liner notes, and listened to the podcast. I think it can be both a tribute to a friend and a great experience, and a “Window in the World” through which we see something deeper. I think that’s a secondary theme of this CD. Catching glimpses of God and his work in ordinary things we see and do in daily life. (A frequent topic of conversation in the Rabbit Room.) “All creation tells the tale that love is real.” from Invisible God. “All along the way the days are made of little moments of truth.” from Windows in the World. One of my favorite things about this CD is that most of the songs are kind of like parables. They start out with something normal and tangible, and end up showing us something extraordinary about who God is and what He has done. About the way that He loves us, and what it means to love Him.

    Resist it all you want, but I think there’s more to “Rocket” than what’s on the surface.

  23. becky

    My favorite moments:

    The first is in All Things New at the beginning when the bouzouki comes in (I THINK that’s what it is). I love the sound of that instrument and that little line that gets repeated over and over in the background of the song.

    Invisible God: I love the “long cold death that the winter brings, and the sweet resurrection…Spring.” The pause before “Spring” builds my anticipation, and the background vocals coming in there get me every time.

    Don’t Give Up On Me is just a perfect song. I like what someone called the “slow burn” of that song. How it starts out small and quiet, and gradually builds, adding layers of voices and instruments until the sound is just crashing over you. And then “Angel voices in the rooms where the children run, all covered in light” is such a great line. It paints a picture in my mind. It has the same feel to it as in Gilead when John Ames is watching his son play in the yard, with the sunlight falling on his head. Just so moving.

    The Good Confession also is a favorite. It’s another song that starts out simply, with just one voice and piano accompaniment, and grows to the full choir with strings and other instruments. The life of faith is like this song. It starts out small and grows larger and stronger with time. Yet it comes back again and again to the basic line that it started with, “I believe He is the Christ, Son of the Living God.”

    Curt, are you going to BTLOG in Elkhorn on the 2nd? I am road tripping with some friends. Wednesday will be a long, sleep deprived day, but worth it!

  24. Tony Heringer

    Becky, in keeping with this space theme, you are starting to sound like the Borg — “Resistance is futile” or Darth Vader “I find your lack of faith [in Barliman] disturbing.”

    My reply is simply to steal a Simon Cowell line (adopting a stuffy British accent here) “Sorry. Just my opinion.” 🙂

  25. Roger Wagner

    How about…?

    1. “You have beaten Death at Death’s own game” from “Hosanna” The defiant/triumphant emotional connotations of that line are as powerful as the truth-event it records — like the Puritan John Owen’s wonderful title, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.”

    2. “…for the tears on the face of the old man made clean by the grace of the Good Lamb” from “Invisible God.” As one who will soon fit that temporal category — and has always fit it theologically — I love that line.

    3. Ditto Becky’s comment above about the final “SPRING” in “Invisible God” — the skipped heartbeat pause and the harmonies make that word flower with blooming, buzzing profusion — and relief.

    Thanks, Andy!!

  26. Peter B

    Roger, about your #1: heck yeah.

    Becky, Curt, I’m right there with you; as indicated in my own “moments” above, that’s the point where the song really hit home for me and I could see it was all about the final resurrection, in AP’s trademark unassuming assumption of meaning.

  27. becky

    Tony, I think I’d rather sound like the Borg queen than Simon. Actually I see myself as more of a White Witch type, turning all those who oppose me to stone with a flick of my wrist. Or maybe Galadriel under the power of the One Ring. “All will love me, and despair!” 🙂

  28. Carolyn

    I, too, love the line “gravity binds us but glory defines us.” I was teaching today about gravity, explaining to my students the benefits of gravity; but then I stopped and quoted the line. I told them “you are so much more than just a thing stuck on Earth.” And that is a resurrection moment– when you realize anew that this isn’t all there is….

  29. Kevin

    what a fun post! Many times when I listen to AP or read others’ thoughts about his art all I can do is laugh with delight.

    I’ll only share two favorite moments, keeping in mind that just about any moment from RL II deserves to be my favorite (and probably was or will be at some point).

    1. From All You’ll Ever Need: “…and I need it, I need it.”
    When my sister was very young she would ask for everything she wanted (from more juice in her cup to the latest doll to the attention of her daddy) in the same way, “I neeeed ‘dat!” What ought to have been a humble request (“may I please have _____”) was instead expressed as a bold imperative, as if the world would end if her Juicy Juice was not replenished. Consequently, from a young age I’ve always held the phrase “I need ____” carefully in my mind before using it for fear of conflating my needs with my desires. If my sister was too liberal and trivial in her expressions of need, I reacted by being too reserved and somber in mine. In the context of the blood of Jesus, however, there is no possible way to overstate how much need I have, nor is it possible to exaggerate the significance of what it is I need. “I need it! I need it!” I can sing that line over and over and over.

    2. From Hosea: “Hosea, my heart is a stone.”
    Sometimes the best we can do is be honest with God about how much we suck. I would call that confession, except that in my mind confession is an integral part of repentance. There are times in my life when I know I am sinning and pushing God away and I know what I ought to do, but the desire and/or ability to do what is right seems to be out of my hands; Caedmon’s Call’s summary of Augustine seems apt: “give me purity and give me continence, but oh no, not yet!” In those times it seems that all I can do is pray that God arrests my attention before I find myself alone in a desolate place or in bondage to a cruel master like Gomer. For some reason God hears such pitiful pleas and responds with love; He chooses to help me choose Him and behold, “one look and my stone heart crumbled.”

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