When a Mistake Reveals Truth and Beauty

Thursday is for Defending Marriage in the Way We Should Have All Along

Wedding Rings 2A couple of days ago Scott Wesley Brown posted a link to Noel “Paul” Stookey’s classic Wedding Song (There is Love). The link that Scott put up was a bit scratchy so I went searching for a better recording and found “a mistake.” A wonderful mistake.

In 2011, a guy by the name of “attaremad” put the original recording up under the name of Gordon Lightfoot! I gave it a listen and immediately thought, “That doesn’t sound like Gordon Lightfoot.” Dropping down to the comments, I read the comment of Pete Moss, posted just two weeks ago. Pete gave the back story on the song’s composition.

Here’s the Link to the Original recording minus the Gordon Lightfoot mistake.

“Wedding Song (There Is Love)” is a song written by Noel “Paul” Stookey, in the fall of 1969, and first performed at the wedding of Peter Yarrow – Stookey’s co-member of Peter, Paul and Mary – to Mary Beth McCarthy, at St Mary’s Catholic Church, in Willmar MN. Stookey was best man at the ceremony, which took place in the evening of October 18, 1969. Shortly after his Christian conversion, Stookey was asked by Yarrow to “…bless our wedding, with a song”.
 
According to Stookey, “the melody and the words arrived, simultaneously, and in response to a direct prayer, asking God how the Divine could be present, at Peter’s wedding.” Drawing, almost word-for-word, from the Bible passage, Matthew 18:20, the original lyric is, “I am now to be among you, at the calling of your hearts; rest assured this troubadour is acting on My part. The union of your spirits, here, has caused Me to remain, for whenever two, or more of you, are gathered in My name, There am I…There is Love.”
 
Concerned that guests, at the wedding, might misinterpret his intention, “I” was changed to “He”, in both recorded and performed versions, until 1990, when the original lyric was ‘officially’ restored. The first two lines of the song’s second verse: “A man shall leave his mother, and a woman leave her home/ And they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one”, is largely a paraphrase of the text of Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Believing he could not take personal credit, for composing “The Wedding Song”, Stookey set up the Public Domain Foundation, which, since 1971, has received the song’s songwriting and publishing royalties, for charitable distribution. Stookey himself made the first recording of “Wedding Song (There Is Love)” for his 1971 album release, “Paul,” and, accompanying himself on a 12-string guitar, tuned a tone and a half down: Stookey – “It was played in G-formation, so there’s this beautiful second line on the second string. Everybody [has since] tried to play it in E, and there ain’t none…there’s no string that can do that.”
 
Released as a single, the track reached #24 on the Hot 100 in Billboard and reached #3 Easy Listening chart. (Stookey’s Paul and album and “Wedding Song” single were credited to “Paul Stookey”.) Internationally, Stookey reached #31 in Canada, and #55 in Australia, with “The Wedding Song”. Wiki

There is more to the story and I will get to it tomorrow. Let’s not lose sight of the song’s point. If Christians, if our whole culture truly lived out what the song proclaims there would have been 45 years of dynamic testimony of the biblical picture of marriage. Would the the events of the last few years and the SCOTUS decision of last three weeks have even been possible?

I don’t think so.

There has been a full on satanic assault on the institution of marriage for the last 50 years. Now the question is simply this: Will the church wake up and begin to pursue biblical foundations for the construction of their view and practice of marriage or will we continue to cave to the culture around us?  

Me finding the back story on the song was a mistake, but the beauty and truth revealed in the story and the song are timeless.


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