Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ironic Advent Meditation ##: The Ballad of John the Baptist

Ironic Advent Meditation ##: The Ballad of John the Baptist

These song lyrics were written to be sung at Christ the King Church in Huntington, Indiana, on the Third Sunday of Advent in the Year of Our Lord 2012. Or maybe it was the Year of Our Lord 2013. Whatever, I know it was some gloomy day of Our Lord when a new Star Wars movie was NOT coming out. Why don't they just make one for everyday. They have enough money. 

Anyway, John plays a surprisingly large role in the traditions of traditional Advent, although you wouldn't know it from the most of the inspirational Advent chocolate and poetry you can get at Starbucks and your local Christian bookstore. 

In a way, even before W. H. Auden and your 'umble servant Ben Camino, John was the original ironic advent meditation-er. "Come on now, let's make it happen, let's get it done, gotta' change our ways, kingdom is coming." 

Plunk. That's the sound of landing in prison. "Hmm." That's the sound of wondering whether this whole thing was (in an image I've used before but in case you either forgot it or forgot how witty your 'umble servant is) . . . some weird Twister game which gets you all excited to touch the lovely desired . . . object you desire but then the youth group leader comes in and says, "OK, don't get carried away. Let's get back to Bible study about the millennium." 

So . . . John. Not a Baptist, really, but the name has stuck. At least not a Baptist like my grandmother Jewel was. So that's ironic too.  

Anyway, I recorded this song the other night on my phone. Sorry for the distoration, but, somehow, I think JB would like it. He'd probably like Christian death metal if there is such a thing.

Thanks to Jennifer Woodruff Tait for sort of commissioning it (that is, by asking me to play an Introit for the Third Sunday of Advent). Then she missed church and never heard it, but I sent her the phone message right after I recorded it. So now she has it. On her phone, I imagine. These kids today.

Anyway, I hope you profit (get it?) from the song (link below) and the lyrics (further down the page). Lord knows I'm not profiting from taking a few more hours out of my life to do this. But if I'm propheting at all, you can send the love offering down to Austin because that's where I'm headed as soon as I get those last two papers which are due at 5 P.M. (It's 4.39 as I write this).

Here's the link to listen to the song, as recorded on my phone. Yeah, I mean that sentence you just skipped; click on it. 

The Ballad of John the Baptist

John the Baptist knew one song and he beat it like a drum
turn around, oh turn around
he wore camel-skins, ate lovely bugs, but he never touched the rum
turn around, oh turn around
Turn around my brother, turn around and come
Turn around you sinners, turn and find the kingdom

Angel told old Zacharias "your wife will have a son"
turn around, now turn around
Zacharias said "how can that be . . . oh Lord, what have I done?"
turn around, oh turn around
The whole nine months while Zacharias never said a thing
The baby in Eliz'beth's womb was busy prophesying
turn around, oh mother turn around
turn around and find the kingdom

Every mountain will be brought low, every valley shall be raised
turn around, oh turn around 
Until we make a highway for our God in this rough place
Come down to the water, all you hypocrites and liars
The One who's coming after me will baptize you with fire

OH, John the Baptist knew one song, he beat it like a drum
turn around, oh turn around
preaching in the wilderness to hearts as hard as stone
turn around, oh turn around
turn around, my brothers, turn around and come
turn around my brothers, turn and find the kingdom

Waiting in his prison cell to die there all alone
turn around, turn around
John asked "was this all some mistake
or were you the one to come . . . ."

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