Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Larry Norman Passes

Veteran Christian musician and artist Larry Norman passed away last Sunday. There is a short memorial on him on NPR.com. I can honestly say that along with the Bob Dylan Larry had a defining impact on me. As a child I remember listening to "The Great American Novel" (see the video below) and trying to make sense of the words. I can say that song has a direct connection to what I'm doing right now. It got me thinking about about justice and the state of things. The words of the song seem even more poignent today. 

 His last public statement from larrynorman.com states:
I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a simple pine box with some flowers inside. But still it will be costly because of funeral arrangement, transportation to the gravesite, entombment, coordination, legal papers etc. However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you.

I'd like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort. There will be a funeral posted here on the website, in case some of you want to attend. We are not sure of the date when I will die. Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

Larry was 60 years old when he passed.

Undoubtedly many of you don't know Larry. He is widely considered the father of modern Christian music. He opened for some of the great acts of the 60's including the Doors. He recorded at Capitol Records and was well respected in the music industry. Wikipedia has a good recap of his life and career.

Here's a video of "The Great American Novel" from the 80's:

His song, 'I Am A Servant" seems appropriate at his passing. 

I Am A Servant

I am a servant, I've been listening for my name,
I've been unfaithful, I've been looking at the game,
That I've been playing, and I've been staying much the same,
When you are lonely, you're the only one to blame.

I am a servant, I've been waiting for your call,
I've been unfaithful, so I sit here in the hall,
How can you use me, when I've never given all,
How can you choose me, when you know I quickly fall.

Yet you feed my soul, and you make me grow,
And you let me know that you love me,
And I'm worthless now, but I've made a vow,
I will humbly bow before thee,
Oh please use me, I am lonely.

I am a servant, getting ready for my part,
There's been a change, a rearrangement in my heart,
At last I'm learning, there's no returning once I start,
To live's a privilege, to love is such an art,
But I need your help to start,
Oh please purify my heart,

I am your servant.

Finally, Here Larry in the 70's singing "Song for a Small Circle of Friends". You're right, we will live again!

Rest in Peace, Larry. You changed my life...

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