Have you ever heard of a word cloud? If you’ve spent much time reading blogs, you’ve probably seen one before.
Basically, word clouds take a source text and then create a “cloud” image, giving greater prominence to words that appear in the source text most frequently.
One day, just for fun, I sat down at my computer and created a word cloud using all of the lyrics that I had so far for the album. I noticed that words that conveyed death and sacrifice (“blood,” “grave,” “death,” “wounds,” “suffering”, etc.) and resurrection and life (“risen,” “breath,” “life,” “hope”, etc.) appeared over and over again, and my wheels started turning.
At this point, I didn’t realize that all of the songs centered around the theme of redemption. I started playing around with ideas for titles and came up with the one we have now: “The Blood and the Breath”…
And then I realized with excitement that every song was basically telling the same story. Every, single song on the album falls into one or both of these categories: blood (death, sacrifice, atonement) and breath (life, resurrection, Spirit).
And every, single song points to Jesus.
BLOOD first appears in the Bible in Genesis 3, when first sacrificial blood was shed because of sin entering the world.
Throughout the Old Testament, Christ’s sacrifice is prefigured: Abraham’s near sacrifice of his only son Isaac, the passover lamb in Exodus 12, the sacrificial system, the promise of the “suffering servant” in Isaiah 53. Ultimately, the word “blood” refers to the blood Jesus’ sheds for us on the cross, which has purchased us from death to life.
Most of the songs on the album allude to the cross, but “The Passover Song”, “Your Wounds”, and “Gethsemane” especially do.
BREATH is a symbol of creation and new life in Genesis 1 and 2 and the “recreated” life that God gives us through Christ.
“Breath” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament and the great hope of the New. The word signals the promise of our bodily resurrection on the last day (see 1 Corinthians 15 and “Wake Up”).
Historically, the Holy Spirit, God’s deposit on and guarantee of our new life in Christ, is called the “breath of God”.
“Garden”, “Dry Bones”, and “Breath of God” specifically speak of the “breath of life” and/or the Spirit.
AT EASTER, the words “blood” and “breath” converge, and the story of redemption reaches a great climax.
The Easter story – our redemption through Jesus’ cross and resurrection – undergirds every song on this album.