“Pilate”

I was reading a collection of George Orwell’s essays, Books v. cigarettes, many moons ago in China when a reference to Pontius Pilate inspired me to read his (Pilate’s) Wikipedia page.

That, in turn, inspired me to write this song:

(I was listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens at the time, which must have reassured me that it can be cool to write songs with strong religious overtones. Though Brand New might win the prize for best religious-themed song.)

Four Easters (and, I suppose, more appropriately, Holy Thursdays) have passed since then, each marked by an intention to sit down and get it recorded that was finally realized this year. Enjoy!

Oh, and the image in the video is a photo of a wood carving that I edited a little (heres the original). The artist, Grant Figura, has a lot of really interesting pieces and I’ve just noticed he’s from right down the road in Floyd, Virginia!

Lyrics:

who are you to take a savior down?
who are you to take a savior down?
who are you to take a savior down?
i get my orders from the crown.
this man claims to be a king.
this man claims to be a king.
this man claims to be a king.
he don’t rule over anything.
he don’t rule over anything.
i come to let the light be seen.
i come to let the light be seen.
i come to let the truth and light be seen.
i’d like to know… what does that mean?
i’d like to know… what does that mean?
i’d like to know… what does that even mean?
he’d like to see the empire fall!
he’d like to see the empire fall!
he’d like to see the furthest reaches of the empire fall!
i find in him no fault at all.
i find in him no fault at all.
i find in him… no fault.
release one to us for tradition.
release one to us for traditon.
release one as dictated by the customs of our land.
would you barabas or this man?
would you barabas or this man?
the freedom fighter or the holy man?
the well-known bandit, let it be.
the well-known bandit, let it be.
we’ll vote as taught to us by sadducee and pharisee.
i’ll set him free, i’ll set him free.
i’ll set him free, i’ll set him free.
i’ll set him free, i’ll set him free.
you’ll be the face of our demands.
you’ll be the face of our demands.
you’ll be remembered as someone who hears and understands.
i wash my hands, i wash my hands.
i wash my hands i wash my hands i wash my hands i wash my…
but now no river will take me, or the waters of lausanne.
let me rest forever in this lonely mountain tarn.

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