IVP - Behind the Books - The Artistry of Michael Card, the Gospel According to St. Luke

February 7, 2011

The Artistry of Michael Card, the Gospel According to St. Luke

**Thanks to Jeff Crosby, IVP’s Director of Sales and Marketing, for this BTB post.

With some artists it’s the melody you remember. With others, it’s the words.

Sitting in my off-campus apartment nearly three decades ago during Eastertide, listening for the first time to a song titled “Love Crucified Arose,” it was the words that penetrated and left an indelible imprint. As the vinyl rotated on the turntable, I heard lyrics that spoke of a grave becoming a place of hope; of a Risen One in splendor who had won a victory; of one who had drunk from a crimson cup so that I might really live.


I was new to the Christian tradition, confused; yearning for answers and hoping I’d found at least some of them.

And I was encountering, for the first time, the artistry of Michael Card—a gift from my future mother-in-law in the form of a record called Legacy.

Over the succeeding 30 years, I’ve followed the work of this Nashville-born singer/songwriter and author. His craft has been found on more than two dozen recordings and 10 books, virtually all of which focus on the centrality of the Word, the Incarnation of Christ, and the truth of the story of the Risen One who was Satan’s “nail-pierced casualty.”

* * *

It’s the beginning of Advent, 2010, and I’m no longer in an off-campus apartment. Instead, I’m sitting on the floor of Mole End Studio on the outskirts of Franklin, Tennessee, with Holly Benyousky and Ron Davis, the executive producers of a new recording called Luke: A World Turned Upside Down.

The recording’s engineer, Keith Compton, cues up each of the 11 songs that will become the companion compact disc to the first book in InterVarsity Press’s Biblical Imagination Series—Luke: The Gospel of Amazement.

Track-by-track, Compton pushes brightly-colored buttons and plays the songs—“The Bridge,” “A Breath of a Prayer,” “The Pain and Persistence of Doubt,” “A King in a Cattle Trough.” At the conclusion of each song, Card explains how the lyrics were borne out of his reading of Luke’s “upside-down” gospel and his desire for readers—and listeners—to grapple with and understand this amazing message of the “rabbi who astounded his hearers with parables and paradoxes.”

As the final measures of “Seven Endless Miles,” a song that portrays Jesus’ encounter with the forlorn people on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:13-35), fade away, Holly, Ron and I look at one another with a smile.

The melodies are good. But it’s the words, once again, that leave the lasting impression; the words that seek to help us understand the Word who became flesh.

* * *

In an act of community, IVP and Covenant Artists, Card’s music company, have forged an alliance that has brought Card’s exploration of the Gospel of Luke—in book and music form—under a single point of distribution via InterVarsity Press. Books on the other three gospels will follow between 2012 and 2014, all from IVP. And companion recordings, too, will be crafted at Mole End Studio.

The Behind the Books team invites you to join us on the journey of the biblical imagination, both written and recorded, “whether it is the poetry of the psalms, the imagery of the prophets or the luminous parables of Jesus.” As Michael has said elsewhere, “There is joy in the journey.”

Posted by Rebecca Larson at February 7, 2011 12:34 PM Bookmark and Share


this makes me hungry to hear...

Comment by: Nancy Crosby at February 10, 2011 8:54 AM

Wonderful post, Jeff. There are reviews that speak to the talent of an artist. But, then there are reviews that come from being touched and inspired by the artist. I think I want to hear this one.

Comment by: Steve Gibson at February 10, 2011 5:40 PM

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