In Internet terms, today I am celebrating the BEST. DAY. EVER. For my Savior did not stay dead; he rose to give the world life. I live because he wanted to give me life through his sacrifice.
As such, it’s time for an Easter playlist, IC-style.
1. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Sufjan Stevens. I know it’s a rule in baseball and mixtapes to not put your home-run hitter as your lead-off man. But this song so perfectly sums up everything I believe about Jesus Christ that it has to be played first. Musically gorgeous, lyrically foundational; this track is amazing. Thank you, Sufjan.
2. Good News! (For Everyone.) – Aaron Hale. Technically a Christmas song, but Easter is good news for everyone.
3. Really Something – Aaron Sprinkle. “Sometimes I actually forget that this is really something.” And I do. And it’s a tragedy.
4. Heaven – Brett Dennen. I don’t agree with his theology, but he asks the right questions. “Is there a home for the homeless? Is there hope for the hopeless?” Yes, yes there is.
5. Oh Christmas Tree! or Happy Birthday by Elijah Wyman. In the midst of intense pain and grief, there is mercy and grace. It is hard to find sometimes, but Wyman captures that spirit and puts it to song.
6. Never Enuff – Mansions. The narrator of this song is trying to break up with God. God does not break up with us. That’s pretty much the Easter story.
7. More than Ever – Holy Fiction. “I need you more than ever.”
8. Against Pollution – The Mountain Goats. One of the most misunderstood songs I’ve ever tried to give people on mixtapes. This song, although it does include a store clerk killing a would-be robber by shooting him “in the face, and I would do it again,” is not an endorsement of violence. It is a passionate endorsement that life is so important to the narrator that if he has to kill to stay alive he will do it. While I don’t fully agree with the degree to which the narrator goes, I deeply understand the sentiment. I want life, and to quote the Postal Service, I want life “in every word, to the extent that it’s absurd.” I don’t want to go down now. I want to keep kicking. And Jesus Christ offers that in spades. Even then, the chorus: “When the last days come/we shall see visions/more vivid than sunsets/brighter than stars. We will recognize each other/and see ourselves for the first time/the way we really are.” Please. Amen.
9. Revelation – Hands. “Hear, oh Earth; the Lord our God is one.” Probably the only time the time-honored Jewish prayer has been sung by a man-choir in a epic nine-minute hardcore song. God is a big God.
1o. We’re Nothing Without You – The Juliana Theory. Self-explanatory.
11. Sufficient/Knocked Out – Bleach. Half the song proclaims how God is all-sufficient; the other half pleas for God to be all-sufficient in the midst of deep, deep struggle and pain. This is the Christian fight in ten minutes.
12. Fishing the Sky – Appleseed Cast. This is not even a remotely religious song. But when I hear it, it’s the closest thing to heaven I’ve ever heard.
13. Always – Switchfoot. “And I am always, always/I am always yours.”
14. Hope to Carry On – Caedmon’s Call. Don’t be scared off by the name; it’s Derek Webb singing. The title is self-explanatory. The track is glorious, upbeat, yearning acoustic folk.
15. That Where I Am That You May Also Be – Rich Mullins. One of my heroes, musically and in the way he lived his life, this was one of his final songs before he went to where He was. It is about as optimistic as a song gets while still grounded in non-sappiness.
16. Jesus – Page France. “Jesus came up through the ground so dirty, with worms in his hair and a hand so sturdy, we call him his magic, he calls us worthy, Jesus came up through the ground so dirty.” The gospel in indie terms.
May God find you where you are, comforting those that need comfort and shaking those who need shaking. Amen.