Music Reflection: Whirlpool, Prayer Chain

Today’s post is a little different. Lately, I’ve been thinking about this song. I’ve had it on replay for several days straight. Something about it resonates with me. The Prayer Chain was a huge underground Christian band in the 1990’s. This album was a pretty big one, and my introduction to them.

Somewhere about 1994, I went on a youth trip to see the Prayer Chain and the 77’s. It was held at the Woodlands United Methodist Church, a church that I would become a member of nearly twenty years later.

This night was my first introduction to crowd surfing and moshing. And probably the purest. The rest of my experiences with such behavior were church kids trying to replicate what they had seen or heard of such things. (This was long before YouTube).

I was a 14 year old blushing Christian schoolgirl, with my celeb crushes on Peter Furler and Kevin Max Smith (his last name at the time). It was a dark room, with mainly college aged students, with  facial hair, tattoos, and the occasional smell that I couldn’t quite place, but could only describe as a strange body odor.

I felt out of my element, but in a good way. This was a new side to Christian culture. It was exciting, and not quite so…safe. I was intrigued. And the music…the music was good. Not like the hyper-produced stuff I was listening to on Christian radio.

I bought this album that night, and memorized every song. This song resonated with me more than anything else they did. Most of the Prayer Chain is hard driving alt-rock. But, this sweet ballad stuck with me. Gentle reflections on spirituality. It was rock and roll worship, before it was cool. I love the sweet honesty here.

Would you have to die again

For me to understand

What you mean to me

And what I mean to you?

He uses a lot of Catholic imagery in this piece, and I wouldn’t get it until many years later. Modern Evangelical Christianity is so personal and ever-evolving. And that’s great, I’m not knocking that. But, it’s beautiful to remember that we carry an ancient faith, rich with tradition and history. I think it sometimes centers us, and helps us to remember not to make God in our own image. God is sovereign, and transcends our ideas of creed, sect and denomination. He is, always has been and always will be.


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