Monday, August 18, 2008

The greatest singer/songwriter you've never heard of....

In yesterday's sermon, I made reference to "the greatest singer/songwriter you've never heard of: Ed Kilbourne."

Here's some background for Covenant-First members (and everyone else listening or interested). You may have heard me mention from time to time my involvement in the Salkehatchie Summer Service program when i was in High School (you can read the story here in this sermon I preached on Ruth 4).

The first three years I went on Salkehatchie, I attended the Penn Center Site in lovely Frogmore, SC. We worked on the homes of the Gullah people in the South Carolina Sea Islands. This was a time of the emotional highs and lows of being a teenager.... and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully in all of our hearts. The many adults who volunteered during those years poured their faith into us. I would go on to work with Dave Dillon, who was a professional carpenter. I would learn about guitar from Ross Cooke. After those early years, I moved my involvement to the Columbia camp...and those times are for a different story.

But Ed Kilbourne always came to perform for us at Penn Center Salkehatchie. His performances were heartfelt and stirring. He talked about Jesus as a real Person, not some abstract mathematical formula. Over the years, I purchased a couple of tapes, and during the long drives from college to home, Ed's lyrics were healing and strengthening for me. He sang of the great delight that Jesus has in his children....the great calling that God has on his people for righteousness and love and justice. He sang folksy down home songs. And he did covers of some of my pop favorites....showing me that non-Christian singers can inadvertantly write pretty good gospel songs (if you look at the songs from a slightly different point of view....consider Cindi Lauper's "True Colors"....with the perspective of the song being sung by Jesus to His bride the church).

But I had tucked away all my old cassettes and hadn't listened for years. Until I was ruminating on my sermon for Sunday.... and an old lyric sprung to mind that captured beautifully the sense of ceaseless activity that carries no real meaning "He's got eyes that do not see, ears that do not listen, and his hands have let the truth run through their fingers. And his feet are always moving, but they go in tiny circles. He's got it all. But he's got nothing at all." With the Isaiah imagery and the vision of perpetual busyness shuffling in tiny circles, Ed hit something right about human attempts satisfy a drive that only the Living God can fulfill. And thus, I thought to share it with everyone in the congregation.

And I'm listening to old tapes again....probably will order some new ones.

Thanks for the ministry Ed.... the Holy Spirit used you greatly.

Soli Deo Gloria