Slideshow image

I get glimpses of the Divine in a lot, and wide variety, of music - sometimes because of the beauty of a composition, or the depth of the lyrics, or the context in which I first heard it, or for a myriad of reasons. 

Bruce Cockburn is an artist who's music I have loved since I was in my teens, having seen him play Mainstage at an English Arts Festival called Greenbelt. As I have gradually gathered many of his albums he's accompanied me on my own spiritual journey/dance and his lyrics, as well as his musical virtuosity and songwriting gifts, often inspire me. The song I want to share today is one which I found both profound and helpful when it appeared on his Album 'Dart to the Heart' - it's called 'Burden of the Angel/Beast' and continues to remind me of just how nuanced human beings are, and how we are all carrying this burden of being neither perfect nor evil, but that our lives are filled with things that have made us who we are, good and bad all in one. But also deeply loved. 


Burden of the Angel/Beast

From the lying mirror to the movement of stars
Everybody's looking for who they are
Those who know don't have the words to tell
And the ones with the words don't know too well
Could be the famine
Could be the feast
Could be the pusher
Could be the priest
Always ourselves we love the least
That's the burden of the angel/beast
Birds of paradise -- birds of prey
Here tomorrow, gone today
Cross my forehead, cross my palm
Don't cross me or I'll do you harm
We go crying, we come laughing
Never understand the time we're passing
Kill for money, die for love
Whatever was God thinking of?
Songwriters: Bruce Cockburn. For non-commercial use only.

Psalm 139

1 GOD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
2 You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.
3 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O GOD, know it altogether.
4 You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.
5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
6 Where can I go then from your Spirit? *
where can I flee from your presence?
7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there; *
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
8 If I take the wings of the morning *
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
9 Even there your hand will lead me *
and your right hand hold me fast.
10 If I say, "Surely the darkness will cover me, *
and the light around me turn to night,"
11 Darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day; *
darkness and light to you are both alike.
12 For you yourself created my inmost parts; *
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made; *
your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
From the Inclusive Language Psalter: A New Gender-Inclusive Adaption of the Book of Psalms, Based on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer Text (Version for Congregational Use) Edited and adapted by Adam Waddell, Hannah Bowman, the Rev. K.D. Joyce, and the Rev. Bailey Pickens