“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas (1978)

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Music, 04 August 2019
Petra, Jordan, 30 April 2019.

We were in Grade Six when the American progressive rock band Kansas released “Dust In the Wind” in 1978. Immediately upon hearing it on radio with its signature guitar plucking, everybody was talking about its spiritual meaning, especially its music that sounded so mystical.

According to its composer and band guitarist Kerry Livgren, the song was inspired by a line from the Book of Ecclesiastes which we have heard proclaimed in today’s Sunday Mass with some references also from Genesis 3:19 “…for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shall return.”

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:14

Like the author of the Ecclesiastes who called himself Qoheleth, Dust in the Wind is no “kill joy” but a beautiful and timely reminder to us all that indeed, we are all dust in the wind, that we must seek things that truly last even after death.

And that is God alone.

What I like most in Dust in the Wind is its haunting melody that elicits a kind of fear that does not make you cower or tremble. It is a positive kind of fear that according to experts motivates man to further his knowledge and abilities. Like this fear of death that has enabled man to achieve so many breakthroughs in medicine and the sciences to cure and prevent many diseases that have greatly improved our quality of life. It was also the fear of death, of going hungry that enabled many explorers to discover many new lands and territories that now push advanced nations to explore the universe for future human colonies.

Sometimes in life, we have to be shocked and shaken because fear can be a good motivator for us to strive for the best. But more than a motivator, the fear of death can also be a path to holiness and communion in God as the Book of Ecclesiastes shows us: the more we realize our nothingness like dust in the wind, that everything is vanity, the more we also desire and hold on to God who is the only One permanent and absolutely good after death.

The French author and film director Georges Bernanos (Diary of a Country Priest) wrote in one of his novels that,

In a sense, you see, Fear is the daughter of God, redeemed on the night of Good Friday. It is not pretty to see— of course not!— sometimes mocked, sometimes cursed, renounced by everyone… And yet, do not deceive yourself: it is at the bedside of each agony, it intercedes for man.

Joy (La Joie)

May this music by Kansas remind us that only Jesus Christ can fulfill us. Not money or wealth, power or fame for “one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Lk. 12:15). May it also remind us of Christ’s parable of the rich man who died after storing treasures for himself, forgetting to be rich in what matters to God (cf. Lk.12:21).

Happy listening and blessed Sunday to you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s