tMG Church 4-14-2011

When the Church of the Mountain Goats gathered in Baltimore on April 14, pastor John preached a phenomenal sermon.

[Here, jrdk is being a bit tongue-in-cheek, please don’t write the management complaining about his ecclesiology. –ed.]

After the song Damn These Vampires (which does use the word damn, but really, if you’re going to wish for God to damn something shouldn’t it be the forces of darkness that destroy people’s lives?), he introduced the next song as follows:

This song is about how if you have survived some personal trauma–which I’m afraid that the great secret of life is you have.

That’s the thing. There’s a line that’s either Salinger or Beckett I’m not quite sure, but it’s “You’re on earth, buddy, there’s no cure for that.”…Beckett…

What binds us, especially those of us who get really into music, is that we share some kind of wound. And we sort of come to shows or write songs in order to open the wound back up and watch it bleed awhile. And sort of… and hang out together and say to one another, “It’s ok that it looks like that. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”


At the same time you harbor a dream of being like the normal people who you imagine exist who probably don’t–right so… And you think, “O some day I will be free of this wound that I carry. This song is called, “Never Quite Free.”

If you listen to it, there is riotous cheering when he says that the great secret of life is that we all endure trauma; there are shouts when he talks about gathering to open the wound and watch it bleed. They cheer when he says it’s ok, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Take note, young preacher: the celebration comes, in large part, in the gathering sharing the brokenness together. The great preachers don’t pretend to hold it all together, to have the perfect embodiment of easy answers.

The great preachers acknowledge that the brokenness of the world is their brokenness as well.

Also note: he preached his sermon in 1 minute, and 1/3 of that was an illustration.

ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω

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