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For 9/11: ‘Come on up for the rising…’

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/11/17

Bruce Springsteen’s album “The Rising” amounts to a song cycle about 9/11. The title song has never been performed with more vigor and defiant joy than here, for the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Sting, backed by a full-throated gospel choir.

On this day of sorrow and grief, we remember.

And we pray, always, to rise.

The song tells of a firefighter ascending, and remembering, and praying: “Wearin’ the cross of my calling, on wheels of fire I come rollin’ down here…” 

The lyrics: 

Can’t see nothin’ in front of me Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind I make my way through this darkness I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me Lost track of how far I’ve gone How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed On my back’s a sixty pound stone On my shoulder a half mile line Come on up for the rising Come on up, lay your hands in mine Come on up for the rising Come on up for the rising tonight Left the house this morning Bells ringing filled the air Wearin’ the cross of my calling On wheels of fire I come rollin’ down here Come on up for the rising Come on up, lay your hands in mine Come on up for the rising Come on up for the rising tonight Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li Spirits above and behind me Faces gone black, eyes burnin’ bright May their precious blood forever bind me Lord as I stand before your fiery light Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li I see you Mary in the garden In the garden of a thousand sighs There’s holy pictures of our children Dancin’ in a sky filled with light May I feel your arms around me May I feel your blood mix with mine A dream of life comes to me Like a catfish dancin’ on the end of the line Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life) Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life) Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life) Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life) Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life) Your burnin’ wind fills my arms tonight Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life) Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life) Come on up for the rising Come on up, lay your hands in mine Come on up for the rising Come on up for the rising tonight Li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li, li
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