It is no secret I’m a music geek. It is also no secret that I am in love with words. When I was in high school a great deal of my life was determined by music. My friend Scott Beimler and I would listen carefully to all kinds of music, mining the lyrics for kernels of truth that would “relate” to our present life. We would spend hours picking through his expansive music collection, browsing sleeve inserts and reading through the printed materials that came along with some of his best boxed set collections. We were fascinated with lyrics. We would find words that possessed power, and those words were heightened by instrumentation and music that would resonate with the present state of our soul, whether we were soaring at our highest heights or had plummeted to our lowest of lows. I have continued to have friends with whom a shared love of music has been important to the relationship, such as Scot Huber or Mike Hibit, and I have been thankful for the sharing of harmony, rhythm, truth, and beauty that music has the unique power to convey.
Last week I had the opportunity to share the music of a community that has blessed me in recent years, and I took great joy from the conversations and shared passions which were born through those conversations. I asked a handful of students whom I walked alongside last week which musicians they listened to, and I came home with a list of 15 to 20 bands or performers they found compelling. I had work to do on iTunes. I also shared some of my musical preferences, most notably the work of Mike Crawford and His Secret Siblings. It was particularly exciting to share “Words to Build a Life On” and see the students incorporate that anthem into our camp worship experiences.
If you haven’t heard of Mike Crawford, check out his work at his MySpace page, and if you’re interested in learning how to play a couple of the songs that have been born out of the Jacob’s Well community, check out Mike’s YouTube Channel. You can also check in with Mike Crawford’s website, which is under construction, but according to Mike’s comment I found on this blog post, it is forthcoming soon and will feature charts and tabs. If you’re interested in picking up their two CD collection, you can click here or wait till mid-August, at which time you can purchase it through iTunes. Both the music and the lyrical content are fantastic.
Mike’s music is stuff I would recommend. I particularly love the way in which the words of Scripture are sung throughout the album, which, at this time in my life, are the very words upon which I feast. Mike’s music also allows for the Word to be heard in fresh ways, and, in a sense, recaptures the narrative of Scripture in a manner that ignites the imagination and opens up new possibilities for how that Word may be born in us as followers of Jesus.
T.S. Eliot, in his poem “Ash Wednesday,” observed:
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.
We live in a world where the Word is unheard and unspoken. But Mike’s music points to the Word, the light which shone in the darkness, which stands silent and waits to be spoken, and, even when it is unspoken, still stands at the center. Mike’s music is witness to truth and beauty that has a name, Jesus the Christ.
If you haven’t already picked up Mike Crawford’s work, do it, and let it bless you.