Springsteen as secular shaman

Bruce Springsteen has internalized the Catholic sacramental vision. As a kid in a New Jersey Catholic grade school and with plenty of opportunities to grasp the idea of invisibilia per visibilia, Bruce apprehended the power of the Incomprehensible Mystery—midnight mass, stained glass windows and the choir singing with joy. Above all a Sacred Story second to none. He intuited the unseen Holy showing up in the visible world, the divine in the mundane, the transcendent in the immanent. Try friendships, laughter, sunsets, Mozart and babies for starters.

The utopian vision of Jesus (Land of Hope and Dreams) embraces all—particularly those who are heavy laden and weary. Beginning again is always an option for the Divine Lover who greets us with open arms (Luke 15:11-26). Often describing his concerts as “rock and roll baptism”, Springsteen’s hope is to bring some relief to people, to get them to think in new ways and to challenge his own country to put flesh on the bones of Emma Lazarus’ poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty—”Give me your tired, your poor…”

On this train there is room for “saints and sinners, losers and winners, lost souls “etc. Looks like the church of the big tent to us.

Land of Hope and Dreams

(Bruce Springsteen)

 

Grab your ticket and your suitcase

Thunder’s rolling down the tracks

You don’t know where you’re goin’

But you know you won’t be back

Darlin’ if you’re weary

Lay your head upon my chest

We’ll take what we can carry

And we’ll leave the rest

 

Big Wheels rolling through fields

Where sunlight streams

Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

 

I will provide for you

And I’ll stand by your side

You’ll need a good companion for

This part of the ride

Leave behind your sorrows

Let this day be the last

Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine

And all this darkness past

 

Big wheels roll through fields

Where sunlight streams

Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

 

This train

Carries saints and sinners

This train

Carries losers and winners

This Train

Carries whores and gamblers

This Train

Carries lost souls

This Train

Dreams will not be thwarted

This Train

Faith will be rewarded

This Train

Hear the steel wheels singin’

This Train

Bells of freedom ringin’

This Train

Carries broken-hearted

This Train

Thieves and sweet souls departed

This Train

Carries fools and kings

This Train

All aboard

 

This Train

Dreams will not be thwarted

This Train

Faith will be rewarded

This Train

Hear the steel wheels singin’

This Train

Bells of freedom ringin’

 

 

Copyright © Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)

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