by Rev. Dustin Bartlett
A few years ago, a colleague of mine was complaining to me about the music a bride and groom had selected for their upcoming wedding. They wanted to walk out of the sanctuary to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” She objected to the song on the grounds that a Christian marriage is supposed to be a religious service, and the song’s lyrics didn’t contain the word “God” anywhere.
While I agreed with her basic premise that a Christian marriage is a religious service, I felt like she was being a bit overbearing. After all, the song is about love – and not just about love, but about a commitment and a covenant to continue loving that same person forever more. If that doesn’t reflect the Christian understanding of marriage, then I don’t know what does.
Many songs, while not overtly Christian, contain lyrics that are spiritual. At my denomination’s National Youth Event this year, the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles was played to encourage young people to be their authentic selves, not giving in to peer pressure, and the song “Ripple,” originally by the Grateful Dead, was sung by the entire congregation as one of the hymns.
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons. Although they’re not considered a Christian band, their music is laden with Christian themes and imagery. And although their front man, Marcus Mumford, doesn’t consider himself a Christian, he nevertheless is committed to his own personal spirituality. Their song, “Roll Away Your Stone,” is one of my favorites, and has this to say about grace:
It seems that all my bridges have been burned / But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works / It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart / But the welcome I receive with the restart.
What about you? What seemingly secular music is speaking to your soul?