By the early 80s, Cohen was exploring more spiritual themes – both in his life and in his writing. It’s here where Cohen starts to get really interesting – his observations about life are no longer from the perspective of the young man on the prowl, but an older and wiser man who is starting to lift his eyes upward.
Music has a peculiar God-invested power to move us emotionally and spiritually. It aids us in lauding our God; in rejoicing in our salvation and all God’s other gifts; in celebrating our own milestones and achievements; in musing about life and truth; in grieving and lamenting loved ones and loss – and all of that the more so when combined with texts that proclaim biblical truth. No doubt that’s why the music of Christmas so draws us in.
One is Canada’s Springsteen. The other is Canada’s Dylan.
And both will soon be gone.
There’ve been a good number of think pieces about The Hip over the past few months; pieces that have attempted to capture what this band means to Canadians, why this band never caught on below the 49th, how the band does or doesn’t challenge the thornier issues of Canadian identity.
Since we’re in the Easter season until Pentecost, I want to write about two of Bach’s Easter works. They stand apart from classical Easter music in the way that all of Bach’s music stands at the summit of classical music, period.
In the Christian life and in the church year Easter rightly looms large. “If Christ had not been raised your faith would be in vain,” we confess with Paul (1 Cor. 15:17).
A number of years ago I led a worship team at the church I used to attend. Like most things I commit to, I poured my heart and soul into that worship team.
Blunt warnings in Scripture about the link between worship and the lack of justice in our society make us uncomfortable. Like the Israelites, our worship can become an attempt to appease God when we sense that God is probably not pleased with what God sees in our corner of the world
“Can young children be reverent? Can older people be silly?”
“Did you know God’s voice can sound like Bob Dylan?”
On Sunday morning I was watching Cara DeHaan, who wonderfully edits my columns, play the piano for our worship service. She has musical talent I can only appreciate with my ears, not duplicate with my hands or mouth. While listening to her play, it struck me, given the way the body works, how miraculous is the ability to play the piano (or, for that matter, any musical instrument).
Whether you sing “praise and worship” songs, traditional hymns or both at your church, I encourage you to reconsider the hymn texts of a dead white guy, born 340 years ago, whom you may have overlooked. We learn more theology from what we sing in church than we do from the sermons we hear.