24th May 2021 – Happy 80th Birthday, Bob Dylan! #otdimjh

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born on May 24, 1941. One of the greatest singer-songwriters of the 20th century, his powerful words and music have initiated and mirrored the shifts in contemporary American society.  His body of work has crossed musical boundaries and created trends for popular music, political protest and contemporary culture. His career of some 60 years has produced a body of work embracing both the intimate and personal life of a poet, and the global and political protests of a prophet and activist.

For Messianic Jews of special significance is the period that produced the albums Slow Train Coming (1979), Saved (1980) and Shot of Love (1981). Some of the songs were re-released in the 2003 tribute album Gotta Serve Somebody.

Dylan has never made any secret of his Jewishnes. He grew up in the small but close-knit Jewish community in Hibbing, Minnesota and had his BarMitzvah there in May 1954. His Christian phase was more problematic, and still subject to questioning, as are many other details of his life, loves and identity. How much of a passing phase, or re-invention, was his passionate evangelistic preaching in the 1980s is still a topic of debate amongst his fans. But like the other musical and political phases of his career, his work cannot be located in just one form or message, and throughout his life he has been accused of being a renegade and turn-coat.

My appreciation of his music began in the early 1960s, but when Steve Turner started reporting that he had become a disciple of Yeshua, and Slow Train Coming appeared, my own newly found faith was significantly impacted. Mark Knopfler’s guitar solos accompanying Dylan’s empassioned “You gotta serve somebody” became one of my anthems, and has stood the test of time.

He has received the highest accolades of his profession.  Ten Grammy awards, Academy Awards and membership of the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame are some of his many honours. The Pulitzer Prize for Literature (2008) and the Nobel Prize (2016) “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” testify to his originality and creativity. Few if any singer-songwriters have made the contribution he has made.

On his 80th birthday his creativity continues, but questions remain, as he would wish, about his style, direction, beliefs and faith. We wish him well, pray for HaShem’s richest blessing on his life, and that he may continue to create great music, poetry and art, and know more of his Messiah.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for the life, songs and message of Bob Dylan. May he know the fulness of Your love for Him in our Messiah, Yeshua. In his name we pray. Amen.

A Prayer by Bob Dylan

For his age, he’s wise
He’s got his mother’s eyes
There’s gladness in his heart
He’s young and he’s wild
My only prayer is, if I can’t be there
Lord, protect my child

As his youth now unfolds
He is centuries old
Just to see him at play makes me smile
No matter what happens to me
No matter what my destiny
Lord, protect my child

The whole world is asleep
You can look at it and weep
Few things you find are worthwhile
And though I don’t ask for much
No material things to touch
Lord, protect my child

He’s young and on fire
Full of hope and desire
In a world that’s been raped and defiled
If I fall along the way
And can’t see another day
Lord, protect my child

There’ll be a time I hear tell
When all will be well
When God and man will be reconciled
But until men lose their chains
And righteousness reigns
Lord, protect my child

Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music




Aubrey L. Glazer. God Knows Everything is Broken: The Great (Gnostic) Americana Songbook of Bob Dylan. USA: Panui, 2019.

Bob Dylan, the messiah and personal redemption, RABBI AUBREY GLAZER | APRIL 7, 2017

About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
This entry was posted in otdimjh. Bookmark the permalink.

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 )

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.