It’s Holy Week. It’s a time where the story of Jesus invites us to engage with it a little more intentionally. There are many opportunities to experience worship services that are like no others during the year (and often include more focus on the story of Jesus and less focus on preachers). Below is a list of songs that perhaps will accompany you through this week. I like them. Maybe you will, too.
1. Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil – Comedian
The “King of the One Liners” had us thrilled
Then came the punchline, now we want him killed
And when he’s gone…gone
Who gets the mic…if it’s on?
The Kickstarter-funded album Goliath was just released at the end of 2014 (and on vinyl and cassette on March 31). The more I listen to, the more I’m beginning to realize that it may just be an masterpiece. Highly recommended!
2. The Velvet Underground – Jesus
Help in my weakness,
’cause I’m falling out of grace.
Perhaps the most sincere prayer every put to music. It need not be more complicated than this.
3. U2 – Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday’s alright!
For some reason, this is the U2 song I always come back to as a metaphor for God’s grace. Also fun to watch Bono (inspired by The Screwtape Leters by C .S. Lewis) mocking the devil in front of a stadium crowd.
4. Red Wanting Blue – My Name Is Death
I’ve got a million weapons and ways to use ‘em:
From nuclear power to drugs and boozing.
But my favorite just might be the element of surprise.
There is no getting around it: death is real. At the cross of Calvary the whole Jesus-is-God-made-human thing reaches its climax. God is with us, even though the “grim reaper” is still lurking. Side note: Red Wanting Blue may be the greatest rock band you’re not hearing.
5. Flobots – Stand Up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
Except by a woman dying from the loss of food
Except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you
We shall not be moved
Except by a system thats rotten through
Neglecting the victims and ordering the cops to shoot
High treason now we need to prosecute
So Stand up
Let’s not forget that the Holy Week story is a story of revolution against persecution, a movement versus an empire. Jesus continues to be publicly executed today in every corner of the world because there is no standing up to evil without paying a dear price.
6. Bill Mallonee – In the New Dark Age (The Only Lamp Burning Bright is You)
All the masks came off and disguises were dropped
The game was declared over
Love was escorted out
There was hardly a shout
I’ll take the crimson & clover
Bill Mallonee‘s songs capture the scandal of Holy Week: the life of faith is not for the faint of heart. True religion is not escapism or self-help; it spends its time in the muck and misery of the world.
7. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy
Well I’m so above you, and it’s plain to see,
But I came to love you anyway.
So you pulled my heart out,
And I don’t mind bleeding,
Any old time you keep me waiting (waiting…waiting).
The cross. Plain and simple. Jesus is the lonely boy who won’t stop waiting (waiting…waiting).
8. Sister Gertrude Morgan – I Am the Living Bread
There is something simply transcendent about the voice of an elderly New Orleans street evangelist armed with only her voice and a tambourine. I recommend Sister Gertrude Morgan‘s entire album.
9. Rez – Rooster Crow
This short bluesy intro to the Innocent Blood LP cuts me to the heart every time I hear it. Peter’s denial is the stuff of blues. My favorite moment from an evangelical Christian rock band that consistently stood against injustice and American feel-good Christianity.
10. The Swirling Eddies – The Twist
here, touch my side…let doubt be crucified
nailed with your wounded pride to love’s grim altar
here, taste my flesh: my bloody humanness
i am no phantom guest; no skinless martyr
That’s my playlist. What would you add?