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Redemption Songs

Bob Marley sings:

Wont you help to sing
These songs of freedom? –
cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs;
Redemption songs.

If you listen to Marley, Dizzy Gilespie, Stevie Wonder or a host of other musicians, you’ll get the sense that song is at the heart of everything. They may not be so far off. Both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien envision the Creator calling all things into being through a song. The Bible reveals this as a Creation song (six days of creating, one day of rest). The song can be broken down six separate stanzas with a Sabbath bridge, or two sets of three (three days forming, three days filling, one day of rest/celebration).

But we live out of sync with this creation song. Instead of forming, filling and celebrating, we tear, break apart and criticize. Our choices and actions reveal chaotic dissonance that hurts ourselves, the people around us and the creation. Celebration turns into lamentation.

In the Silmarillion , Tolkien reveals this dissonant strain that threatens to unravel the stunning harmony of the creation song. Enter Bob Marley and the redemption song. The Bible reveals YHWH singing a new song after Adam’s calamity in the garden: the redemption song. I’m still trying to think through the structure of the song, but at a high level the song is about death, burial, and resurrection. YHWH sings an incarnational song where He enters into the suffering that echoes through humanity’s dissonant strains.

Bringing the dissonant strains of suffering into Himself, He heals the breach and ushers in new creation. Both the creation song and redemption song reverberate through all creation. particularly in the human heart. The redemption song tunes the whole human person to the glory of the creation song.* But the redemption song doesn’t stop. Both songs move from counterpoint to resolution, revealing a stunning polyphony.

So keep singing Bob and Dizzy and Coltrane. By YHWH’s grace, the Holy Spirit will “stir us up” and reveal the glory and wonder of these two loving songs in us, in our relationships, and in all creation.

*I remember some of the Christians Celt speaking of spiritual formation as the tuning the five-stringed human instrument (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell) to the song of God’s glory.

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