Just got back from what promises to be one of the highlights of my Christmas celebration this year. Andrew Peterson brought the Behold the Lamb of God tour to Lexington. I know I wrote about this musical work last year at this time, but bear with me.
Behold the Lamb of God falls in the very small category of what I consider to be genuinely inspired (in the fullest sense of the word) musical works of the past couple of decades. It is a cohesive, narrative set of songs that trace the coming the Christ from creation through incarnation. It is relentlessly Biblical, covering an amazing amount of ground), beautifully poetic (the turns of phrase will spark your mind and stir your heart) and astonishingly profound. If you want to help your family grasp the true reality of Christmas, you could do no better than to turn off the tv, put on the CD, simply listen – and then talk about what you have heard.
Two things jumped out at me from tonight’s performance. First, there is tremendous power in experiencing the broad, narrative sweep of redemptive history at one sitting. Many contemporary evangelical presentations of the Bible (sermons, books, Bible studies, etc.) treat the Scriptures in an atomistic way. That is, individual verses or sections are taught as if they exist on their own, instead of being intimately connected to the whole of God’s redemptive plan – from creation to the cross and beyond. Most Christians would struggle to even briefly describe the whole of God’s plan. Behold the Lamb is a beautiful example of wholistic, Biblical thinking. It ties creation, the history of the nation of Israel, the prophets and the virgin birth into one story. That is a genuine value.
The other thing that impressed me was the genuine sense of artistry about the whole evening. Christians are often (rightfully)accused of giving art the short shrift, of settling for mediocrity and even worse, only producing derivative work that copies recent best-selling popular culture. Andrew Peterson has surrounded himself with artists– poets and musicians– of unique depth, creativity and intellect. Andrew Osenga, Jill Philips, Ben Shive, Andy Gullahorn, Gabe Scott, Bebo Norman and others clearly take their art as a seriously joyful expression of their discipleship to Jesus—and it shows. Every song—vocal or instrumental– was presented humbly, with delight and excellence.
This may become a Christmas tradition in the Head home—even if we have to drive a bit to see it. It was that good.