Prelude 1979 by Pat
Here's everything you ever wanted to know about Jesus music, and didn't know to ask! Paul has done an amazing and thorough job of researching this whole latter-day phenomenon, getting right back to its early wellsprings in traditional Christian music and tracing each tributary as it flows into the cascading river of living water that Jesus music is becoming.
I find the chronicle very exciting, having been involved in it from one of its earliest stages. I've watched this new crest developing, and have earnestly paddled to try and stay in the sweep of it. I remember being stopped in my tracks the first time I heard Paul Stookey's song, ''Hymn.'' It was sung by a virtually unknown trio of boys at a Youth for Christ beach rally in Florida in the late sixties.
I got goose bumps. It hit me like a brick or one of those beach hot dogs. ''Of courseit's possible! Why not talk to young people about Jesus in their own language, and with the sound of their own music? Why not be completely honest about a human being's search for something real in a world that so often accepts substitutes and dehydrated religion?''
Soon after, I began to hear other songs and know other Christian artists who were doing just that: Larry Norman and Randy Matthews and Paul Johnson and Jimmy Owens, and on and on. I recorded my own first Jesus music album, and even established a new label, Lamb and Lion Records, to serve as a fresh channel for this modern music.
Like so many, continuing right up until now, I was so frustrated that this wonderful new music couldn't find distribution or air space on the radio. Here was a totally new avenue of Christian expression, one that would communicate immediately with millions of young people in a way they could understandand nobody knew what to
do with it! It was too ''religious'' for pop stations, and too ''pop'' for religious stations. Obviously, new channels would have to open up, and I decided to be one of them. It seems to have been a long and frustrating struggle, but now the doors are opening. More and more Christian stations have accepted Jesus music in its varied forms and are spotlighting the whole galaxy of dedicated and talented new artists. Now even the secular and rock stations are beginning to perk up their ears and listen to the sound of young people singing about Jesus in a musical form that is every bit as commercial and entertaining and arresting as any of the secular artists.
The tide is irresistible now, and chinks in the dam are appearing everywhere.
In the 96th Psalm, and a number of other places, David cries,
Sing to the Lord a new song:
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise His name.
Proclaim His salvation day after day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples.
On the day of Pentecost, the Bible tells us, ''every man heard in his own language.''
People used to ask me, ''What is this Jesus movement, anyway?'' I replied, ''It's Jesus moving, that's what it is.'' No human people originated or organized the Jesus movement; Jesus did it, through yielded young hearts.
Now they're asking, ''What is Jesus music anyway?'' I reply, ''It's Jesus singing, in the hearts of young people by His Spirit!'' Again, no person conceived or organized Jesus music; it's just happening in the hearts and talents of young people, and building to an undeniable crescendo of testimony and praise.
I'm grateful to Paul Baker for bringing the whole dynamic history of Jesus music into sharp focus and giving credit where credit is certainly due. Praise the Lord!
Beverly Hills, California
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