Saturday, 2 March 2013

Have you Heard?

Anyone who knows me very well knows I am a huge Mark Heard fan.  I consider him to not only be the finest modern day Christian poet to ever write lyrics and put them to music, but I consider him to be a finer poet than any modern day lyricist, including the all the so-called greats.  Without a doubt, his richest works were his last three albums, Dry Bones Dance, Second Hand and Satellite Sky, but much of his earlier work was very rich as well, if not quite so achingly prophetic.  Heard crafted his songs out of the deeply held conviction that, while many musicians and artists can tell the truth through their art, only Christians can tell the whole "true truth".  And unlike much (or most) of the mainstream Christian music industry, which seems parrot the music scene of the surrounding culture and thereby make itself merely a sub-culture of that scene, Mark Heard believed Christians ought to be making the truest, most honest, most original, most beautiful and best music of all.  This he learned from Francis Schaeffer at L'Abri. where he was discipled in his understanding of art and the Christian worldview and message.  Heard refused to change his songs when studio heads told him they wouldn't sell very well.  They were right, Heard's music was never that popular.  But he was righter than them.  He started his own label, Fingerprint Records, and he stayed true to his calling as a prophetic voice speaking into both the lost culture and confused church of his day.  His music will last because it is truly great art and its message is more relevant than ever because our culture is still lost and the church is still confused.

At the suggestion of my wife, I pulled my blog title from a Mark Heard song.  It goes like this:

                   Well-worn Pages
Sitting with a Bible in his hand
He thumbs the well -worn pages like before
The evening young and he an aged man
He seeks to understand his Maker more
Sitting in the dark in frayed attire
He feels the chill of winter coming in
He throws another log into the fire
And looks into his Bible once again
He learned to love the pages as a boy
And sought to keep his faith alive and strong
And in the face of threats to rob his joy
The years had somehow left him with a song
A rough and shaky finger scans the lines
And well he knows the old familiar words
He thinks of all the times they've met his eyes
It's still the goodest news he's ever heard
Written by Mark Heard
© 1979 Autumn Balm Music BMI

This won't be the last you hear from me on Mark Heard's music. 

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