The Advent Gospel of Mumford and Sons: "Awake My Soul"

Two years ago this month, Isaac the dog adopted me.

Before I actually lived under the same roof as a dog, I thought that canine communication was simple. When I said, “sit,” he would sit. If he barked at the front window at noon, I’d know that the mailman was in the driveway. His sniff of the food bowl in the evening would translate to, “Pet Parent, where’s my dinner?"

Thankfully, many of my conversations with Isaac are as simple as I hoped they’d be. Some days I do wish he could talk, that he could tell me how he’s feeling or why he barks at the UPS truck with such ferocity. What I didn’t expect was the way he would express his strong opinions on music.

When I started watching reruns of the TV show, Glee, I learned that Isaac did not appreciate high school choirs’ covers of Journey and Bon Jovi. As soon as the synthesizer hit those opening notes of “Don’t Stop Believing,” he would leave the room. I often found him on the living room’s couch—his head (and thus his ears) under a pillow.

I tried turning the volume down, but he still wouldn’t stay in the room with any pop music. He would pause in front of me before leaving the room, ears up and a look in his eyes that said, “Really?” A deep sigh later, he escaped to his pillowed cocoon.

One Saturday morning, for extra house-cleaning motivation, I decided to listen to Mumford & Sons I gathered laundry in the bedroom while Isaac rested in the den. The song, “Awake My Soul,” began quietly, with only acoustic guitar and a lightly picked banjo as instrumentation.

Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep totally free
Awake my soul, awake my soul


I reached for the volume. I didn’t recall drums entering that early in the song. I turned it down, but the thuds continued. I looked overhead. Was something on my roof—or in the attic?!

The mysterious drumbeat continued, and I was looking in the wrong places for its source. I walked to the den. Mystery solved. Sprawled on the floor was Mumford’s newest band member: Isaac, his tail wildly thumping the tile floor.

I carried the portable speaker to the den and turned up the volume. Isaac’s tail speeded up, as did the music. Before the end of the song, he was leaping and dancing around the room. While he did not try to sing along, he managed to turn the fireplace, floor, coffee table, couch leg, and me into his drum by thumping his tail on each one in a surprisingly close rhythm to the song.

In these bodies we will live.
In these bodies we will die.
The way you invest your love
You invest your life.
Awake my soul, awake my soul.
You were made to meet your Maker.

Echoing through Advent is a call to awaken our souls. Our Maker comes to us in a body that will live and die for love of us. Do we hear the drumbeat that announces a King’s arrival?

Animals and children often hear what adults have forgotten or overlooked with age. We miss opportunities to join the band. We sleepwalk through rituals and routines –from cleaning the house to singing familiar carols. The busier our lives become in these days leading to Christmas, the more tired we become and the less "awake" we truly are. We become more disconnected to our Maker as we try to make everyone happy.

“Awake My Soul” is a song for all seasons, but I’ve especially enjoyed listening to it this Advent season. While Isaac has not graced me with his dance since that Saturday morning, he continues to thump his tail when the familiar banjo plays. As his eyes open wider and brighter, I pray that God will do the same with my sight.

… The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…**

With awakened souls and enlightened eyes, let us join the Advent dance.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Read more: Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul Lyrics | MetroLyrics

** Ephesians 1:17-18a (New King James Version)

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