Music Review: Resurrection Letters: Prologue by Andrew Peterson

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Updated September 12, 2018

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“My dream for Resurrection Letters, Vol. I is that it would be the kind of record people turned up to eleven on Easter Sunday, when Christians all over the world celebrate something that happened—it really happened—two millennia ago,” says Peterson.

“But it felt odd writing about Christ’s victory over death without spending at least some time on his death itself,” he continues. “That led to the idea of Resurrection Letters: Prologue... In the spirit of Lent, the season of fasting that precedes Easter, we put together Prologue, a collection of five songs that take us from the last words of Jesus on the cross to his interment in the tomb. And then comes the long wait for Sunday morning.”

These “waiting songs” on Prologue are meant to remind listeners of the gravity of the crucifixion and to pique longing for the moment when morning breaks and Christ triumphs over the grave.

“The hope proclaimed by Scripture is that Jesus, now at the right hand of the Father, is making all things new—and that includes you and me and all of creation,” says Peterson. “My hope is that these songs would wake up a bright longing in peoples’ hearts for the coming kingdom, for our resurrection, prefigured in Christ’s.”

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Resurrection Letters: Prologue EP by Andrew Peterson
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So this was a short EP release to support the "Resurrection Letters Vol 1" release from Andrew Peterson and aimed at the run up to Easter. Well it's no longer in the run up to Easter, but that doesn't mean that these songs are relevant anyway. Timing seems to be a very fluid thing in relation to these releases, the original "Resurrection Letters Vol II" was released in 2008 and it's only this year that the Vol I and Prologue are being released, so a review of an album released for lent being reviewed in September seems to be quite fitting!

There are just 5 tracks on this EP which fill in the gaps, before the gap filling "Resurrection Letters Vol 1" album, specifically looking at Jesus' death and interment. So the album opens with "Last Words (Tenebrae)" and it's quite literally some of Jesus' last words on the cross set to music overlapping each other which layers up through the first half of the song. The second half of the song see's this unwinding itself again and leaving the listener with the lingering "Father into your hands I commit my spirit."

"Well Done, Good And Faithful" takes an interesting look at Christ on the cross and the thoughts surrounding why Jesus cried out about being forsaken, but then the words from God which greet Christ as He takes His place on the right hand of God. This is a song that asks questions about why God would do this, mixing in scripture that He did it for the joy set before Him, but it really makes the hairs rise on the back of your neck. The story continues with "The Ninth Hour" is an instrumental which opens with a very orchestral sweep and continues to tell the story of Jesus on the cross after his cry to God.

"Always Good" is an interesting look at the faithfulness of Jesus. In that moment as Mary weeps, as the dead body of Christ hangs from the cross, there is the promise that God is always good, even when we don't understand, or cannot see what God is doing through what is going on around us, we exercise faith. In an unspoken way, the way that everything turns out with Jesus is the seal that in the most dark moments God can use it for good. "God Rested" is a great song that ties the death and resurrection back to the patterns established in Genesis, of God creating on 6 days and resting on the 7th. The implication is that through Jesus God worked until it was finished and on the day when Jesus was in the tomb God rested in His work of restoration, to begin a new work on the Sunday morning. While God rested the song reminds us;

"But the Pharisees were restless
Pilate had no peace
And Peter's heart was reckless
Mary couldn't sleep"

There is a really story-telling feeling about this song which finishes with the great expectation of what was to come;
"The sun went down
The sabbath faded
The holy day was done and all creation waited" 

That sentence really needs to be finished with ...

There are people who spring to mind when listening to this release. Michael Card is the obvious person as this form of musical storytelling worship really is in that very same tradition. These songs are beautifully written, and equally as well composed and put together. It gives the story of Jesus death without the morbid feeling that can sometimes come across, but it still has some amazing gravity that gives it weight and credence. For completeness, if you have volume I & II then I am sure you will appreciate the prologue. If this is your first experience then I am sure that you will end up with the expectation of what will happen for Volumes I & 2.

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