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The Love More Lovely Than the Rest

Fall is a beautiful time of year on Vancouver Island, but yesterday and today it’s been pounding rain, driving wind, and lots of time indoors.  I’m usually the first person awake in our house and occasionally I will begin the day by throwing on the headphones and listening to the music of Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell.  Steve has that rare gift of being able to combine fantastic music with lyrics that are deep and insightful and illuminating and life-giving.  I remember a few years back when I had a part-time teaching gig at a college for one semester, I would listen to Steve Bell every day on my 45 minute commute.  His music invariably did a very nervous and apprehensive soul good.

So this morning the house is dark, the rain is still pounding, the kids are just starting to stir, and a blank slate of a day presents itself.  I’m listening to and marveling at the imagery of one of my favourite Steve Bell songs—”Burning Ember.”  And on this cold, dark, rainy morning, I’m praying and thinking and smiling about the beautiful one for whom “everything is fire and light,” about the “love more lovely than the rest,” and the “warmth of heaven” that makes us whole.

Judge for yourself how great is the one
Who lives in God—whose God is love
Like an iron when left in embers bright
Everything is fire—everything is light
Oh Love, how beautiful You are
Oh flame of joy within my heart

Burning ember
I remember Love’s first light in me
I was cold then
Like a stone when I saw Your flickering
Oh what beauty as You drew near me
I could scarcely speak
Somehow I knew
I would be new in your glowing

Judge for yourself if a fire isn’t safe
When cities fall before her face
Yet a flower can endure the course of a storm
When bowing to the tempest’s rage
Oh Love, more fierce than all the rest
Oh raging joy within my breast

Burning ember
I remember Love’s first light in me
I was cold then
Like a stone when I saw Your flickering
Burn forever
Let me never curse the pain You bring
Somehow I know
I will be whole in Your burning

Oh Love, more lovely than the rest
Oh flame of joy within my breast

Burning ember
Shine forever in the darkest tomb
Warmth of heaven
Hidden secret in a mother’s womb
Flame of beauty
Blazing through me so that all might see
Somehow we know
We’ll all be whole in Your burning
In Your burning
In Your burning

You can find “Burning Ember” on a number of Steve’s albums (see here), but one of my favourite versions is the one he recorded with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Symphony Sessions.  You can have a listen here—and then, of course, immediately go and purchase it :).  You can also read some of Steve’s own recent reflections on this song here.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Al #

    I can’t believe that I had little exposure to Steve and had never seen him live until this past June in Victoria. He is one awesome guy.

    October 9, 2010
    • Absolutely! Steve is one of those people that makes following Jesus seem like the attractive, invigorating, and soul-nourishing thing that it is meant to be.

      October 9, 2010

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