“Give me your sweet soul dream”

May 15, 2013


I recently purchased World Party’s second album, Goodbye Jumbo. Yeah, it’s really old—going all the way back to 1990, when I was in college the first time around. In addition to one of the greatest songs ever recorded, the album contains a musical prayer entitled “Sweet Soul Dream.” Unlike the Rich Young Ruler of Matthew 19:16-26, the singer/songwriter/virtual-one-man-band Karl Wallinger says that he would give up every treasure on earth in order to obtain heaven:

I give you all my money
Abandon that beautiful girl
Take my books
My choicest looks
And burn them all today

I got rare ’61 Beatles
I got a film of my dreams
But I’d lose them all
Burn ’em all
Go along without all of it
Give up the chances I see

If you’d take me up
Raise me up
Let me know the heart of it
Give me your sweet soul dream
Give me your sweet soul dream

Wallinger would do these things. Would I?

When I hear this gospel sentiment expressed so beautifully—of losing one’s life in order to save it—the prospect of voluntarily giving up everything for the sake of Christ, which is normally very daunting to me, suddenly seems more possible.

Regardless, one day I will lose everything in death—except my soul. Will I be ready for that day when it comes?

As a Christian pastor, I must note that the song isn’t perfectly Christian: if we believe in resurrection, we must reject the idea in verse 2 that the body is a prison from which the soul will be set free. Resurrection means that the body matters a great deal to God, and we will get it back in a different-but-similar form.

Still, a lot of people get that wrong. It’s a lovely song. Enjoy!

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