Essay / Art

The Prodigal Bride

Lost Dogs band shot Take the book of Hosea and re-tell it as a cryin’-in-my-beer tear-jerker country song. Cowboy Hosea ambles up to the jukebox, plunks in a couple quarters for that special song from their honeymoon, then turns to his honkeytonk gal and drawls, “You done me wrong, Gomer, but I still love you like you wuz the onliest woman God put on this earth fer me. Come on back to the double-wide and we’ll settle up. You just leave them no-count cowpokes and rustlers here in town.” Turn up the twang on the pedal steel guitar and make that thang prophesy.

Doesn’t sound promising? Well, The Lost Dogs managed to pull it off on their 1996 CD Green Room Serenade. In fact, with Terry Taylor as the lyricist, the song “The Prodigal Bride” tells a countryfied version of the Hosea story well enough that you can hear more than the prophet: you can hear the grieving love of God echoing behind the wrecked life of the prophet. Taylor’s lyrics, in fact, sum up the theology of Hosea, hint at its New Testament fulfillment, and cast an eye to the eschatological horizon in a remarkable way. Go buy all their music now. Or just enjoy the following lyrics as an imaginative commentary on Hosea. The Dogs, by the way, have lost that deep-voiced band member Gene Eugene since they made this song, but they’ve limped on to keep making great music.

The Prodigal Bride (I’ll Wait for You)

Everyday I’m still amazed
At your beauty and your imperfection
I got beneath your skin and loved you in
Your vanities and indiscretions
All your haves and your have-nots
Will turn to dust in time
But there’s still a chance to save yourself
While I’ve got you on the line
And you know it

Baby, I’ll wait for you
It’s not too late for you
You’ve been right, you’ve been wrong
Been so weak you could be strong
Baby, I’ll wait for you

You don’t see clear I’m standing here
In the shadows of imagination
You alone form blood and bone
And put flesh around my incarnation
I smell the rain here in your hair
See the tears that mark your face
But I’m just a ghost that can’t be seen
Without the eyes of faith
And you know it

Baby, I’m here for you
Have I made it clear to you
Whether you’re up, whether you’re down
You know I’ll be around
Baby, I’ll wait for you

When you first beheld the man
You nailed down his open hand
‘Cause he wasn’t much to look at way back when.
Now your dance of freedom raised a storm
A day for death, a time to mourn
Until that long lost love is born again
Baby, I’ll wait for you

God knows you’ve tried to close your eyes
To secrets everybody is onto
In your shadowed brow the demons growl
They’ve left furrows in all the faces that you’ve gone through
But you still wear the wedding dress
Though it hangs like tattered sheets
Beyond the flesh that is revealed
I only play for keeps

And you know it

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