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Nobel Prize for Evangelism

In a little over a month, Robert Zimmerman will travel to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. And I, for one, think he deserves it. Long has he contributed consequential poetry to the world. My favourite Dylan period is the late seventies, where he preached like a John the Baptist on the same theme as a John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Like this example from his anthem, When He returns: “Surrender your crown on this blood-stained ground, take off your mask.” How good is that! A confrontation between us who wear our little power crowns, symbols of our own autonomy, and Him, Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns and whose blood stained the ground beneath His cross. And yet more than a confrontation; it is an invitation to drop our pretence to self-righteousness, and to surrender to a King who can provide, as a gift, a righteousness that is sufficient for any sinner to stand justified before a holy God.

Not sure if Zimmy would ever win the Nobel Prize for Evangelism, but his contribution on Slow Train Coming was helpful to at least this lost sheep who needed to know that grace was powerful and forgiveness possible. And if Jesus said that he would acknowledge ‘a cup of cold water given to one of the least of his brothers’, then he may acknowledge, with more noble honours, those who try to put the gospel into song.

DM 8th November 2016


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