Saturday, August 9, 2008

Remembering "Jesus Music"

Bill at The Thinklings is remembering the "2nd Chapter of Acts." 2nd Chapter was one of the great pioneer groups in the early days of contemporary Christian music in the seventies. In those days it was known as "Jesus Music" arising out of the Jesus Movement. I saw this brother/sisters trio in concert back in 1977, again in 1979, and I recently rediscovered their concert recording from a west coast tour that year (along with guitar great Phil Keaggy) entitled "How the West Was One." What great music! What great memories!

Bill says:
There are a few moments in my life when music has directly impacted me. Included in these moments is the first time I heard the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the first time I heard D.C. Talk's Jesus Freak.

I was reminded of another one of those moments tonight. I was on iTunes and decided to download some old 2nd Chapter of Acts songs. Many of you will never have heard of them, but they were one of the pioneering CCM bands of the 1970s.

I remember distinctly the first time I heard their song Last Day of My Life. I was not a believer at the time, but was at the home of some friends of my brother who were. They put the album (yes, vinyl :-) on and this is what I heard, in perfect a capella harmony:

If this was the very last day
of my life
I would not cry
'Cause I've been waiting for it
waiting for it

Instead I'm sure I'd jump for joy
and reach the sky
'Cause I've been dying for it
dying for it

This hit me square in the heart. Who are these people, I thought, who wouldn't be sad if this was their last day? This made no sense to me.

But I knew, somewhere deep down, that I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be like these young people who were singing - and excellently so - for joy.

And I found that, in the bridge of the song, they were also describing me.

And I know that you've tried
Every thing you've done
At least once or twice

And I know there's no joy
Left within you . . .

This moment, which happened about thirty years ago, was one of the impacts that started the kicking away of the supports I had put in my life "protecting" me from falling into the arms of Jesus. Thank God.

I'm listening to that song now, and I've got chills.

Listening to 2nd Chapter still gives me chills thirty years later also. (I also agree with him about Jesus Freak!). I would love to find digital versions of the great music from my younger days - Paul Clark, Larry Norman, Mustard Seed Faith, Love Song, The Way, Children of the Day, Terry Talbot, etc. I will always remember Jesus Music and what it meant to a young guy trying to express his joy in the Lord and to stand for Christ against the cultural tide.

For info on 2nd Chapter, music downloads, etc, here's their web page.