By David Werther
The Sea In Between; The Sights and Sounds of Mayne Island, Featuring Josh Garrels with Mason Jar Music, A Mason Jar Music Film (2013)
Christianity Today magazine named Josh Garrels’s Love & War and the Sea in Between the album of the year in 2011.1 Critic Jeremy Jones described Garrels’s lyrics as “prophetic, incisive, achingly human, and longingly spiritual.”2 The film The Sea In Between documents a week of creation, generosity, and beauty on Mayne Island in British Columbia. The Johnson family fell in love with Garrels’s music and invited Josh, his wife and two young children to spend a week of vacation on Mayne Island — and maybe do a show. The Johnsons then extended their hospitality and generosity farther; they also invited the music video production group Mason Jar, and some musicians it selected to join them. All involved wanted to see what would happen if these artists collaborated in the beautiful setting of Mayne Island. What happened was more than a mixture of picture-postcard beauty, technically proficient musicians, and time away. The result was joyful creation and community. In addition to performances, The Sea in Between gives Josh Garrels time to reflect on his life journey and Christian story. National Public Radio noted that Garrels is not a “Jesus-per-Minute” Christian artist.3 Maybe that is one reason Blayne Johnson, who does not share Garrels’s faith, felt comfortable inviting Josh’s family to vacation with his. Thinking about Garrels’s music and the way people respond to it brings to mind lines from George Herbert: “A verse may find him, who a sermon flies, / And turn delight into sacrifice.”4
3. There’s an inside joke among some who sneer at contemporary Christian music: “Jesus Per Minute.” How often does the artist say Jesus’s name? NPR Music, December 12th, 2013.
4. George Herbert, Perirrhanterium 2, The Temple.
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