“Word” is the shortened form of the phrase: “my word is my bond” which originated with prison inmates and also by my Grandma, who avoided blasphemy by saying,”oh my word”, or “oh my goodness”, which sounds similar to God. Word is equated to God from John Chapter 1. It begins like this. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
And so the Word and words have a way of animating our lives. Love spoke and animated the universe. That’s remarkable! God spoke and words became matter which animated our world and continues to hum as our hearts dance to grace, mercy, creativity, passion, love.
Or if you enjoy music…In the beginning was the Song of Creation and it was beautiful, and the Song’s tune beats in our chest. Read Genesis 1 again and see how poetic, verse-like, and lyrical it sounds.
Melody, harmony, pitch, rhyme, rhythm, volume, and tempo all animate the original Song we sing about the wonder of life…and the heartache.
Words…my wife remembers words well, lyrics of old songs from Barry Manilow to Credence Clearwater Revival. I can remember the ones that are most profound…to me anyway. Here are some of my favorites.
Bob Dylan-Blowin’ in the Wind
How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
One of the first songs that awoke my understanding of music as social conscious, not just entertainment.
John Cougar Mellencamp-Minutes To Memories
An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind.
An Indiana storyteller weaving simple narratives about Jack and Diane and freeways running through the front yard of pink houses.
Simon and Garfunkel-The Boxer
All lies and jest, still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
I introduced Paul and Art to my daughter Lauren and we share a love for their poetic lyrical ballads.
Woodie Guthrie-This Land Is Your Land
As I went walking I saw a sign there, And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.” But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, That side was made for you and me.
The man from Okemah, Oklahoma who wrote about my Okie homies. This verse is lesser known, but pretty good!
Ramones-I Got a Lot to Say
I got a lot to say, I got a lot to say, I got a lot to say. I can’t remember now, I can’t remember now, I can’t remember now.
Does this really need commentary? The first Ramone’s tune I ever heard was at my wife’s sisters wedding in New Jersey…”That’s What I Like About You…” which sent a bolt of lightning through the sanctuary of the church house as the couple walked down the aisle and the pews shimmied and shook along with a few uninhibited souls.
Veggie Tales-Love My Lips
…the fire department came and broke the lock with a crow bar and I had to spend the next six weeks in lip rehab with this kid named Oscar who got stung by a bee-right on the lip-and we couldn’t even talk to each other until the fifth week because both our lips were so swollen, and when he did start speaking he just spoke Polish and I only knew like three words in Polish except now I know four because Oscar taught me the word for lip: Usta!”
This is more of a vegetable hip-hop rap and the reason I’m now considering a vegan lifestyle.
James Taylor-Country Road
Sail on home to Jesus won’t you good girls and boys
I’m all in pieces, you can have your own choice
But I can hear a heavenly band full of angels
And they’re coming to set me free
I don’t know nothing ’bout the why or when
But I can tell that it’s bound to be
Because I could feel it, child, yeah, on a country road.
Yes, James, I love the highway also.
Bob Dylan/The Byrds-My Back Pages
I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.
I have no idea what this means, but I love it.
U2-Where the Streets Have No Name
I want to run, I want to hide, I want to break down the walls, That hold me inside, I want to reach out, And touch the flame, Where the streets have no name
Longing for a world where your income and worth is not determined by neighborhood or by your tribe. Echoes of the Bible passage in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl.
Not many artists can write and sing about mental health and still attract large crowds.
Jimmy Buffett-Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes
If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane.
There’s an opera out on the turnpike, there’s a ballet being fought out in the alley.
Bruce uses strange juxtaposition to make things memorably odd.
Robert Robinson-Come Thou Fount
Come thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace…
My daughter Jenna re-introduced me to the majesty and truth of this great hymn. The entire song is beauty and loveliness, every verse filled with purpose and meaning.
Neil young-Comes a Time
Comes a time when you’re driftin’, Comes a time when you settle down, Comes a light feelin’s liftin’, Lift that baby, right up off the ground., Oh, this old world keeps spinning round, It’s a wonder tall trees ain’t layin’ down, There comes a time.
Neil tells a life story in just a few words…amazing.
James Taylor-Carolina in My Mind
With a holy host of others standing ’round me, Still I’m on the dark side of the moon, And it seems like it goes on like this forever, You must forgive me, If I’m up and gone to Carolina in my mind
JT is singing about going home to see those you love while Paul, John, George and Ringo surround him in the studio (a holy host of others standing ‘round me) in England where he was first signed by Apple Records, but Carolina in My Mind was the song I sang most often to my children before bedtime so it means more to me as a lullaby about the peace of restful sleep and saying goodbye to my children at the end of the day.