It is a dingy tattoo parlor situated at the corner of a beach strip mall. The walls are splattered with colorful examples that range from the hokey religious to sadistically perverse. A Playboy and Cosmopolitan sit unassumingly next to one another at the waiting table. The tattoo artist is a twentysomething hipster with her own permanent body art from the top of her head to her toenails (literally). She brags about her feats at a hybrid beer pong disc golf game she concocted in the parking lot during a recent drunken night. Her language is as colorful as the art that adorns her skin.
After the standard musical fare (“The dog days are over…”) a slow haunting number rose out of the parlor’s speakers. It split through the stagnant scene like a lightning bolt to me.
“They led him to Pilate’s bar….not a word, not a word, not a word…”
A patient deliberate banjo played with a whining guitar to these simple sober lyrics:
“He never said a mumblin’ word…”
From the dirty ashes of the studio a blazing white Lamb was rising up. The tattoo artist toned her language down long enough to hum along to the tune as she worked on her customer/my wife.
“They all cried ‘Crucify Him!’ Not a word, not a word, not a word….”
I never heard the song before. It had the feel of an old Negro Spiritual (It was). I wanted to ask the girl if it was Sufjan Stevens (It wasn’t). Turns out, Stevens did help produce it. The band, “Welcome Wagon”, consists of a young midwestern Presbyterian minister and his wife, the recording studio typically their living room.
“We nailed Him to a tree. Not a word, not a word, not a word….”
It probably was a prime conversation starter and evangelistic opportunity. It went wasted. I didn’t say a word. Not even a mumblin’ word.
But I walked away with a new favorite band. And an appreciation of God’s ability to pierce darkness in His own unique way.
Indeed. The Lamb said more in silence than an eternity of words ever could.