Resurrection in Focus for Andrew Peterson

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Peterson AndrewCredit-GilesClement 1521-RetouchedAndrew Peterson (photo by Giles Clement)Rare is the song that ends on a "suspended chord."

But the Andrew Peterson composition "God Rested" does exactly that. And the song provides a hinge-point in the artist's resurrection series showcase, which he brings to Byron Center on Sat. April 13.
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"God Rested" refers to the literal internment of a dead Christ, and is the last song in a musical prologue. It's the jumping off point to his collection "Resurrection Letters Vol. 1," full of joyful songs of Christ's victory over the tomb.

But a listener is left hanging with anticipation on that final note.

"We are living in a time of that suspended chord," said Peterson, 44. "We know we have a promise of Christ's return but we're in a tension of expectation and longing."

The very next song is "His Heart Beats." Its poignant resurrection depiction opens with the line "His heart beats, his blood begins to flow; waking up what was dead a moment ago."

It emphasizes the physical coming-to-life of Christ's crucified body. "I love playing that song," said the artist. "It feels like the sun coming up on Easter morning."

SOWING THE MUSICAL SEED

Eleven years ago Peterson released an album he titled "Resurrection Letters Vol. 2." The volume two designation was necessary, he noted, because the songs were about the "shock wave" implications of the resurrection rather than the in-the-moment joy of the event itself. He planned to write volume one at a later date.

     
 

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After an interlude of several introspective albums and a self-described mid-life crisis and depression, the artist said the pump was primed to write the joyful songs about the Savior's resurrection. "Resurrection Letters Vol. 1" was finally issued last year.

"Suddenly, I couldn't wait to write a bunch of songs about the joy of Easter, because I had gone through a kind of death and resurrection myself," he reflected. "I had to experience a little of what it means for part of me to die and for the Lord to resurrect it."

The result was the favorite album of all he's made, according to the artist.

"I had to wade through some sorrow to get to it."

THE RISE OF THE SONGS

Peterson's folk-pop style was energized when his nominal Christian faith came to life. His new direction came together when he discovered the music of the late singer-songwriter Rich Mullins, whose name actually found its way into one of Peterson's early songs.

"I was 19 years old and I realized that all those stories I had heard as a youth were true," said the pastor's son of his renewed outlook.

"I asked God if could sing about Him – and that if I had any gift for music or writing, that I wanted to use it for His Kingdom. Now, 25 years later, here I am."

His first national release came in 2000. Although never a "star" on Christian pop radio, his sensitive ballad on marriage "Dancing In The Minefields," was a solid hit back in 2010. The memorable tune still shows up on playlists.

"Until this new record, I'd have to say that was my most popular song," he said. "But the new song, 'Is He Worthy?' (on "Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1) is now a song I play and the whole crowd seems to sing along."

That's probably because the worship ballad was recorded by veteran Chris Tomlin and is already being sung in contemporary churches. Peterson said it was written to be a congregational song, using a call and response technique that can be sung in unison or antiphonally. Watch Peterson's lyric video online.

"If I had a song I had to play every day for the rest of my life, that's probably it."

MULTIPLE ARTISTIC FRONTS

Peterson is also an author. He has published a four-part youth fantasy novel series titled "The Wingfeather Saga." This fall he has a non-fiction book ready for print, "Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling and the Mystery of Making."

He is the founder of the creative collection of writers, musicians and artists who make up "The Rabbit Room", which spawned Rabbit Room Press and annual conferences.

And now Peterson's oldest daughter Skye is an emerging music artist with her first recording in hand. (She is joining her father on his current tour).

Meanwhile, the Lenten season is perfect timing for a concert of songs on the death and coming to life of Jesus Christ, and the ripple effects it launched throughout history.

"There will be some songs from all of my records," Peterson said of his concert song list. "But the focus will be that prologue right on through the Easter resurrection."

Details:
Andrew Peterson in the "Resurrection Letters" tour, with special guests Taylor Leonhardt and Skye Peterson
7pm Sat. April 13, 2019
First Christian Reformed Church of Byron Center, 8541 Byron Center Ave SW.
General admission tickets $10, online
     
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Author Information
Terry DeBoer
About:
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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