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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

number 27




Life was filled with guns and war and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died, the days grew cold- a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind- the Son has come and you've been left behind.

A man and wife asleep in bed, she hears a noise and turns her head- he's gone
I wish we'd all be ready
Two men walking up a hill- one disappears and one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind- the Son has come and you've been left behind.

Life was filled with guns and war and everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died, the days grew cold- a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready
There's no time to change your mind- how could you have been so blind?
The Father spoke, the demons dined, the Son has come and you've been left behind.

***
Sadly, there were no cameras running during Larry Norman's epic 1979 tour. It was my first rock concert ever, and my first road trip with no 'adults' present. My life was never the same after that.
After playing the hits with an all-star band consisting of other Solid Rock Records feature artists -Tom Howard was on keys and Alex MacDougall of Daniel Amos was on drums- 'the Hairy Mormon' (as my friends and I had jokingly dubbed him) launched into an ultra heavy version of 'number 27' from our youth group's worship music duo-tang: I Wish We'd All Been Ready. At the end of the song, while the band riffed and rumbled underneath, the singer assaulted the audience by shouting the big question of the song over the din: WHY?
Scared the hell out of me.
The clip below is fairly tame by comparison, but affords us a glimpse of the kind of singing/preaching that established Larry Norman as a founding father of the fledgling genre that would become Jesus Music and would give a whole new generation of musical believers hope of moving beyond the old-time gospel expressions that were the only legitimate musical forms prior to the early 1970's.


Guys like Larry, Randy Stonehill, Barry McGuire, Randy Matthews, Phil Keaggy and others were all on that cutting edge that separated what had already been done from what could be done. They were responding to Jesus' words by writing songs and playing them wherever they could with an urgency that was infectious. Lives were changed, not because these musicians were perfect or because their message was, as I shared in my talk, a terrifying endtimes message of Christ's immanent return. Lives were changed because the Holy Spirit was using these guys and their music to get people's attention in ways that were relevant to the day, effectively challenging the indifference of man to the things of God with a holy dissonance that demanded decision-making. Christian Kids shared these records with their 'non-Christian' friends and talked about the lyrics, discussing what they might mean and, more importantly, what their message might imply.
I know of at least one other kid who was drawn slowly, but purposefully towards that gospel light simply through sitting around listening to records and talking. Eventually, when a moment of decision presented itself at a concert, my friend was ready to move into it. Even though years have passed and we don't see each other anymore, there is this great satisfaction in my heart that somehow, just by sharing my love for Jesus and my love for music with a friend simultaneously, God was able to move. On that day of days, whenever and however it comes to pass, I will look over to see a man with whom I grew up, with whom I walked up many a hill, standing in paradise wearing, perhaps, the same look of bewilderment that is upon my own face.
We are who we are for God's glory, to be used of him to bring the world to an understanding of his love and of the possibilities that lie within reach of realization for those who accept it, having pushed past the indifference that is too often the human condition. In what ways are we, today, walking on the cutting edge that separates that which has already been done from that which could be?

2 Comments:

At 12/10/2010, OpenID societyvs said...

Steve Taylor's music still really sticks with me as quite meaningful. Was just listening to Violent Blue yesterday - still has truth within it that can stand the test of the time.

 
At 12/23/2010, Blogger jollybeggar said...

steve taylor was almost a larry norman for the 80's. he was angry, subversive, musically edgy and yet still had an innocence about him that harkened back to the days when the 'Jesus Music' genre was born.

favourite line?
"and you'll only drink milk from a Christian cow!"
(song: guilty by association)

 

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