Bob Marley is undeniably one of the best, if not the best reggae artists in the world. He is a legend. Unfortunately, his music is often associated with drug use and a lifestyle we do not want to promote to our youth. I have always been drawn to his music, not just for the carefree, sunshine-soaked, beach-vibe melodies… but because of his many references to the Bible. Many may be familiar with his Rastafarian roots, but it comes as a surprise to many, that he was baptized Orthodox Christian a year before he died. On his deathbed, he was heard saying, “Take me, Jesus.”
Throughout the course of his work, over 137 distinct references to scripture have been found. They can be found in titles, such as “Judge Not,” (Matthew 7:1) and “One Love,”(John 4:7), and in the lyrics. In Redemption Song, he refers to Matthew 23:37, “How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look? / Some say it’s just a part of it, we’ve got to fulfill the book.” When you unravel Marley’s songs, it becomes clear who inspired Marley’s music and the message he was trying to bring.
So, why am I talking about Bob Marley? The reading on April 11th of the Easter Octave was from John 20:11-18, where the story opens with Mary Magdalene weeping outside Jesus’ tomb. A pair of angels and then Jesus Himself, ask her “Woman, why are you weeping?” We know how the story ends, but it was this phrase (which by the way, has great alliteration) that wove into my heart that day. The phrase made me think of my favorite Bob Marley song, “No Woman, No Cry”…
a song that has brought me comfort during the darkest times in my life.
Both phrases echo the same message. We will suffer, and we will weep. Jesus is saying to us, I am here. If you have faith in me, you will see that you do not need to cry… for this will all pass. You will be with me in eternity, where there is no weeping … where there is no crying!
I had never made a connection between that scripture and Marley’s song, until that moment in church the other day. Later that week, I did some research on Bob Marley and his songs, and during my digging, I found out that the name of Bob Marley’s group (Bob Marley and the Wailers) was derived from the “weeping and wailing” found in the Bible.
Marley too has been beside Jesus’s tomb, as we all have, weeping for our personal losses, struggles, and dark times … and Jesus is reaching out and saying …
"No Woman, No Cry."