Soul Music

Soul music began largely as a genre focusing on ballads. The pioneers of soul were “crooners,” bellowing out sultry lyrics for lovers. Marvin Gaye was perhaps one of the most famous soul singers of his era. Gaye—who grew up in a pastor’s home in the Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, D.C.—became the poster boy of smooth, sultry, romantic sound with hits like “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You,” “I Heard It through the Grapevine,” and with Tammi Terrell “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.”

However, by the 1960s many artists and genres of music became more concerned with the political issues and causes of the day, including Marvin Gaye. Gaye released a string of chart-topping hits like his 1971 tune “What’s Going On?,” “Inner City Blues: Makes Me Wanna Holla,” and “Mercy, Mercy Me.”

“What’s Going On?” and “Mercy, Mercy Me” captured the anguished cry of a disenchanted and disenfranchised generation. The songs were urban laments, longing for an almost mythic day when things like hunger and war would cease to exist.

In other ways the songs gave voice to a question—a prayer, really—that almost irrepressibly escapes one’s lips amidst life’s turmoil. Gaye seemed to be crying out with his generation for mercy. The cry for mercy is as old as humanity’s fall in the Garden. It’s been uttered, whispered, and yelled in every generation among every people since sin entered the world. When we reach those limits, something in us looks for mercy.

Luke 1:57–2:20 contains two natural births, two supernatural messages from God, and one main point. This passage of Scripture reveals that Jesus is the Savior. That’s good news for humanity, for great mercy comes from a great God and his Savior.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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