There’s a lot of great Easter music out there. From traditional hymns to contemporary worship, the music of Easter is one of the best parts of the season.
However, today I want to recommend to you something a little different for your Holy Week listening.
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Released in 2002, Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising was one of the first pieces of popular culture to directly address the September 11th attacks of the year prior.
The album also served as a reunion after over a decade for Bruce and The E Street Band. And it was a major comeback for Springsteen himself after he faded from relevance a bit in the 90s.
To me, The Rising the perfect Easter album.
If you listen to the album from start to finish, you hear a heartbreaking story of loss. You also hear a heroic story of rescue.
From the sacrifice of a man heading “Into The Fire” to the “Lonesome Day” of his friends and family crying out that “You’re Missing” to a group of survivors “Counting On A Miracle”, the album tells the stories of a community bound together by loss wondering how to recover.
The title song is written as the story of a first responder heading into the flames and chaos surrounding the World Trade Center. As one man makes a sacrifice to save many, a community of hopeful survivors gather around.
As the song hits the bridge, and the hero becomes lost in the smoke and flames of the wreckage, his friends and family look to the heavens as every emotion enters their heart. Yet through all the pain and the doubt there is a dream of life:
Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin’ wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life)
The hero of “The Rising” is lost while the hero of our Easter story rises again. But ultimately we are called to be The Rising, the church of believers. We are the hands and feet of the Holy Spirit in the world.
As we all come together for The Rising, we must all put our hands together. We must be the embodiment of church in the end of Acts 2, who following the resurrection “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals and to prayer.”
As they prayed and praised, each day God added to their community. Their lives were deeply impacted by the sacrifice they witnessed. They could have run away. Instead they bound themselves together and rose up.
The beautiful thing about music is you can read into it so many other meanings. While I doubt Springsteen had Easter on his mind as wrote The Rising, it’s hard to deny the spiritual parallels in the music if you’re listening for them.
As we celebrate the rising of Jesus this week, we must all commit to being the rising in this world. He must rise within us each day, and we must follow his image and rise as well.