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with Jesus

By David Werther.

Malcolm Guite, Dancing Through the Fire (Cambridge Riff Records, 2011)

           Dorothy Sayers' deep interest in Dante began when the Germans were dropping V-1 rockets over London and she picked up her grandmother’s copy of the Inferno to read in a bomb shelter. Listening to Malcolm Guite’s plenary address, “The Great Dance: Love and the Virtues from Dante to Lewis” from the 2014 C.S. Lewis Summer Institute, piqued my interest in The Divine Comedy and increased my appreciation of Dancing Through the Fire’s [hereafter DTF] title track.

           Poet, musician, and scholar, Dr. Malcolm Guite is chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge University, with interests in Coleridge, C. S. Lewis, and Bob Dylan. Like Dylan, Guite's repertoire ranges across folk, rock and blues. In DTF he portrays the beauty of marital fidelity, "They Don't Make Movies About Love Like This," the comfort of love in the face of poverty, “In the Red,” and the pilgrimage back to the Garden, “Dancing Through the Fire.”

           My current favorite songs on DTF are "For Ruth" and "Lente Lente" [Slowly Slowly]. The latter is accessible on you tube from a show celebrating the release of DTF.  It is full of pastoral warmth, wisdom, sensitivity and gentleness. To hear the song is to experience healing. "A Song For Ruth" is a beautiful folksong about the story of Ruth. The poet Goethe called Ruth “the loveliest complete work on a small scale ever written.” If Guite's "A Song For Ruth" is not the most beautifully conceived reflection on Ruth, it is not far from it.

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