Friday, April 15, 2011

"it may be the devil or it may be the Lord..."

Phil Keaggy plays with Paul Clark and the Word of Life Church Band performing Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody, which is this week's traditio. For those who don't know, Phil is what you might call a guitarist's guitarist.

This song is off Dylan's Slow Train Coming album. These days and for a long time now, Dylan is cryptic about faith and religion, but not altogether silent. For several years, however, he was very forthright about it. Along with Saved, Slow Train... is an unapologetically Christian album. True to form, John Lennon's answer to this song was Serve Yourself

You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

During this period, Dylan said:

"Years ago they ... said I was a prophet. I used to say, 'No I'm not a prophet' they say 'Yes you are, you're a prophet.' I said, 'No it's not me.' They used to say 'You sure are a prophet' They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, 'Bob Dylan's no prophet.' They just can't handle it."

Indeed, as even John Lennon was forced to concede, despite thinking himself and his bandmates "bigger than Jesus," you gotta serve somebody, even if it's yourself à la Sheilaism from Robert Bellah's Habits of the Heart.

So, on this last Friday of Lent, maybe it is a good time to ask yourself, Who do I serve?

It's been 21 years to the day since I decided who I wanted to serve. Am I the best servant? Heh! Not by a long shot! Only Jesus can turn my filthy rags into riches.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis

1 comment:

  1. Regarding Dylan being cryptic nowadays, seems to me that 'Ring Them Bells', 'Mississippi', 'Ain't Talking' and the entire 'Time out of Mind' album are clear enough.