Vying for Souls’ Voices
I have been reading The Singer Trilogy by Calvin Miller lately. I just finished The Singer and it has captured my attention. The cast of characters illustrates the gospel. The troubadour represents Christ and teaches those he encounters “the ancient starsong.” The starsong is the Gospel in verse about Father-spirit or Earthmaker’s great love for his people. World-Hater has a song too, a song that he sells as “love” but leaves its choir empty and searching for more. He spreads his lie on the flute and teaches it to any who will listen. Occasionally the Troubadour and World-Hater are vying for the same soul’s voice to join their different songs.
One of my favorite passages is when the Troubadour is telling his mother that he must sing his song upon the city wall. He knows that the people will reject his music and his mother knows it too.
The Singer ceased.
The ancient Star-Song slept.
“You know the final verse?” his mother asked.
“I know it all,” he answered back, “But I’ll not sing it here. I’ll wait till I am on the wall. Then alone the melody will fall upon thick ears.”
“They will not like the final verse,” she said.
“They will not like it, for its music is beyond their empty days and makes them trade their littleness for life.”
“The self of every singer of the song must die to know its music?”
“They all must die, and ever does the self die hard. It screams and begs in pity not to go. Nor can it bear to let the Father-Spirit own the soul.”
He turned the thoughts methodically within his mind then spoke again, “Mother, I shall sing the song while I move out to seek more singers who like me are quite content to sing, then die.”
She knew that he was right, but found it hard to talk of joyous life and painful death at the same time.
How odd the song born on Earthmaker’s breath should lead his only Troubadour to death.
“I cannot bear to see you die. Let all the world go by. Don’t sing upon the wall. At least don’t sing the hell-bound ancient curse. If you must sing of life leave off the final verse.”
“I go,” he said. “God give me strength to sing upon the wall– the Great Walled City of the Ancient King.”
“Leave off the final verse and not upon the wall.”
He kissed her.
“I can’t ignore the Father-Spirit’s call. So I will sing it there, and I will sing it all.”
Miller has beautifully expressed humanity’s pain and the difficulty of dying to self. One of the pieces of the Gospel that is more clear to me after reading this first book is the great love behind the call of the troubadour (or Jesus). The scene on the wall illustrates Earthmaker’s care for His lost people. I will not give it away. It should be read in verse and in context.