The Rapture…not what you’re thinking

I like to ask my friends if they’ve heard of The Rapture because it typically throws them off a bit and makes them think I’m about to unload some long pent-up apocalyptic madness. That is not the case.

Actually, The Rapture, a band that’s been around since 1998, is a post-punk incarnation featuring ethereal keys and strong lead guitar lines. But more than that, they have some of the most spiritual lyrics I’ve heard recently (aside from perhaps some well-loved indie folk stuff). Their 2011 album, In the Grace of Your Love, includes a song by the same title and another entitled “How Deep Is Your Love?” Neither song is overtly religious, and yet they resound with deeply spiritual tones. “In the Grace of Your Love” features lyrics like “In the grace of your love / I know we can find a way / In the grace of your love / We can find a brighter day” that seem to speak from a place of brokenness, from damaged life itself, with the hope of finding something better. The person who provides this loving grace actually appears rather ambiguous, as seen in the lyrics “In the grace of your love / I am scared and I’m sick / In the grace of your love / Please don’t hurt me so quick”, yet the overall sense is that this grace is what enables one to get up in the morning, to face another day.

8eec2dfd91ea2cd835c2d1c68be4666afc394a9dLikewise, “How Deep Is Your Love?” speaks of hope in the midst of darkness with a similar sense of ambiguity about the world. The lines “All the feeling I have for you / Standing in your shoes / When I cry you heal my pain / Help me come unglued” come before the song ends with a repetition of the two lines “Let me hear that song / How deep is your love?”, which gives us the impression that the singer is actually asking (without knowing the answer) how deep the love really is.

These two songs strike me as deeply spiritual because they are completely honest about the way we sometimes see and experience the world–as utterly ambiguous. Where overtly Christian songs tend to wrap up with a neat little bow (with the notable exception of Gungor–listen recent Homebrewed podcast here), The Rapture’s secular, spiritual stylings are quite comfortable leaving things undone and simply stating our raw emotion. Even the album’s cover art is tinged with a combination of rapturous joy (pun intended) and uncertainty. The image is a black and white photo of a boy standing, arms outstretched (cross-like), on the front of a surfboard, riding a wave–an experience that can be (so I’m told) both joyfully thrilling and a bit frightening, because you might wipe out at any moment. I wonder if what The Rapture has captured here, better than most, is the way life really is…but with the added insight that you might find grace in the most unexpected places.

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Author: Jeremy

I am happiest outside, surrounded by trees or water. I rarely go anywhere without my camera, and I actively seek ways to connect my work as a philosopher and theologian with regular people who are trying to make sense of this world.

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