My latest essay, “The Flowering Dark,” is now available to read on IMAGE Journal’s “Good Letters” blog. Read it here. 

The essay looks at Lent through the lens of the Innocence Mission’s Birds of My Neighborhood LP, or at least how this record impacted a solemn season of my own life. At the end of the essay, I mention that my sister and I later performed the album in its entirety at a house show in Springfield, MO. That show was recorded via camcorder, and a copy of the resulting VHS was mailed to the band. I thought the VHS was in media limbo like many of its VHS brethren (including footage of a raging version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” that featured the falsetto of Wheaton College Assistant Professor of Classical Languages Mark Thorne). But last weekend I searched the attic storage at our house and found the original recording of it. The footage is hardly HD, but I hope you will enjoy the sentiment behind it. (I also found the footage of “My Heart Will Go On,” so be very afraid.)

Today, I am posting 5 out of the 11 songs from the album we sang that night. The rest will come later with a companion Lenten essay that is still in the works.

From left to right in the video: Me, Dale Campbell of New Zealand band Great North, and my sister, Alyssa Johns (née Johnston).

You will notice that Dale performs on “Where Does the Time Go?” and “You Are the Light” only. We enjoyed making him sit between us while we played and sang. Some bands have a dancer. We had a hairy guy who sat there and contemplated his existence instead. Much more entertaining if you ask me.