How could He not?
Doug LeBlanc has an article up The Living Church on the recent service at the St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond that included compositions by Bob Dylan. He writes:
Bob Dylan has performed six times in Richmond, Virginia, during his 50-year career. This year, a month before Dylan and his five band members took the stage again at Richmond’s Landmark Theater, the members of St. James’s Church gathered for their first Dylan Mass. Mark and Virginia Whitmire, who oversee the music and choirs at St. James’s, do not pretend that Dylan would have added bluesy riffs on his Hohner mouth harp had he been in town a month earlier. They mention honest doubts about whether Dylan would be pleased at their liturgical use of his songs. But they stress that the Dylan Mass rises from their adult conversion to the Dylan fan base, an eventual discovery of what Mark Whitmire calls Dylan’s “authentic prophetic voice.”
The Dylan service was part of a rotation of contemporary music sung by the parish’s West Gallery Choir, which already has adapted bluegrass and jazz to blend into contemporary settings of the Holy Eucharist.
The Whitmires and the Rev. Carmen Germino, assistant rector, spent hours finding common themes between the readings for March 3 and Dylan’s lyrics. “We started with the lectionary and it was providential that the service was in Lent,” Virgnia said. “It was Burning Bush Sunday.”
The choir sang “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” as a prelude, followed by the apocalyptic “Ring Them Bells.” The processional litany used a Dylan album title (Oh Mercy) and a song title “Strengthen the Things That Remain” (cf. Rev. 3:2) as prayer responses. The choir and congregation sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’” before sitting for the lessons. “When the Ship Comes In” served as the Gospel hymn.
“Saving Grace,” one of Dylan’s rare and startling expressions of humility (“If you find it in Your heart, can I be forgiven?”) was the offertory hymn. Communion songs included “Every Grain of Sand,” Dylan’s haunting anthem that draws from the work of William Blake, and “I Shall Be Released.” “Blowing in the Wind” served as the recessional hymn.
Read it all here.