Thursday, August 26, 2004

Exodus 25 and Nick Cave - Match made in the proverbial

I've been having an interesting email conversation with my friend Venerable about Exodus 25.

Essentially it's about the specifications for making the ark of the covenant (and it's made me very wistful for Indiana Jones). Anyway - 25:21 talks about the mercy seat. I know Nick Cave had a penchant for the Mercy Seat (it was burning, it was glowing and it was also waiting) and I've also thought that it was just about the electric chair. Not so, on closer examination he actually talks (well, sings) about the ark too.

Venerable thinks that his use of the word 'stowed' is two-fold. Firstly (he writes), I think that he is talking about the placement of the ark within the religious doctrine as a 'mercy seat' on earth. Secondly, I think that he is placing the ark and Christianity into an historical context.

I still think that mercy seat is a problematic term. It also means a literal "seat of mercy" - a seat that grants the sitter mercy or a seat occupied by one who dispenses judgements with mercy? He has told the truth and he is past wishing punishment on those who are wrongly punishing him so both of these could fit. But the very last line turns this on its head - "But I'm afraid I told a lie".

Venerable said that he'd never really thought or read the lyrics before, but they were like WOW.
We were reading Exodus 25 for my magic class. It's interesting because magic by Christians demonstrates the will and divine power of God and so is not actually magic, but magic is magic by any one else is evil and in league with Satan.

He is an awesome song writer. I was thinking while reading Dharma Bums that poetry is not very popular or well known or written by average people anymore. Now I think it has just changed form - this song is definitely poetic.

Can't say that I've ever seen Jesus in my soup, but then, I don't eat a lot of soup.


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