A Voice from on High

A Dramatic Narrative based around small sections of the lyrics of songs written performed or recorded by Mr Bob Dylan.

Ninoshka Gomes plays a followerof the Messiah who is tender-hearted but struggles with self-doubt.

Isobel Hirst plays a follower of the Messiah who has a tendency to be judgemental.

The role of the Voice of the Message of the Gospel is played by Darren Hirst

Darren also plays the role of the Voice of the Message of the World.

The duality of his message is shown by the blue line which divides his face.

Moon Culture (Aline Huguelet and Keegan Israel) perform the Dylan song “Saving Grace” after one of the verses of that song is spoken.

Supplementary lines to maintain the direction of the narrative were supplied by the director, Darren Hirst. We claim no copyright on the lyrical sections written by Mr Dylan. We hold the correct licence for use of songswhich are used in worship settings and church performances. No admission charge was charged and the video is not being monetised. This will be the sole performance of this dramatic narrative.

The text of “A Voice from on High” follows.

  1. In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
    When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
    There’s a dyin’ voice within me reaching out somewhere
    Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair
  2. I can hear a sweet voice gently calling
    Must be the Mother of our Lord
  3. Beyond here lies nothin’
    Nothin’ we can call our own
  4. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
    For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
    While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
  5. In the fury of the moment I can see the Master’s hand
    In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand
  6. How silently, how silently
    The wondrous gift is given
    So God imparts to human hearts
    The blessings of His heaven
  7. Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
    Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
    The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
    To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay
  8. When He spoke to them in the city, did they hear?
    Nicodemus came at night so he wouldn’t be seen by men

When He healed the blind and crippled, did they see?
When He said, “Pick up your bed and walk

Same thing My Father do, I can do likewise.”

  • I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame
    And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
    Then onward in my journey I come to understand
    That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand
  • The multitude wanted to make Him king, put a crown upon His head
    Why did He slip away to a quiet place instead?
  • The fog is so thick that you can’t even spy the land
  • Praying to the powers above
    He was sweating blood

  • In the violence of a summer’s dream, in the chill of a wintry light
    In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space
    In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face
  • I’ll tell you something, things you never had you’ll never miss
    A brave man will kill you with a sword, a coward with a kiss
  • I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
    Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
    I am hanging in the balance of a final finished plan
  • Stripes on your shoulders
    Stripes on your back and on your hands
    Swords piercing your side
    Blood and water flowing through the land I’d go hungry,
  • Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
  • I’d go hungry,

I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawling down the avenue
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

  • I was blinded by the devil
    Born already ruined
    Stone-cold dead
    As I stepped out of the womb
    By His grace I have been touched
    By His word I have been healed
    By His hand I’ve been delivered
    By His spirit I’ve been sealed
  • The veil was torn asunder
    ‘Tween the hours of twelve and one
  • By this time I’d-a thought I would be sleeping
    In a pine box for all eternity
    My faith keeps me alive, but I still be weeping
    For the saving grace that’s over me

(song – Moon Culture “Saving Grace”)

  • And now I’m beginning to believe what the scriptures tell
  • Just another holy man who tried to be a friend
    My God, they killed him.
  • They said I was a “A man with no alibi”
    But you went out on a limb to testify for me, you said I was with you
    Then when I saw you break down in front of the judge and cry real tears

It was the best moment that I ever lived

  • There’s a Man up on a cross and He’s been crucified
    Do you have any idea why or for who He died?
  • For me He was chastised, for me He was hated
    For me He was rejected by a world that He created
    Nations are angry, cursed are some
    People are expecting a false peace to come
  • There’s only one road and it leads to Calvary
  • Keep me where you are
    Where I will always be renewed
    And that which you’ve given me today
    Is worth more than I could pay
    And no matter what they say
    I believe in you
  • Excuse me, ma’am, I beg your pardon
    There’s no one here, the gardener is gone
  • Wake me – shake me – free me from sin
  • When He rose from the dead, did they believe?
    He said, “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth”
  • And I’ve already confessed – no need to confess again.

But tell my sister, Betsy
To pray the sinner’s prayer

  • Down these streets the fools rule
    There’s no freedom or self-respect
    A knife’s point or a trip to the joint
    Is about all you can expect
  • Man’s ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don’t apply no more
    You can’t rely no more to be standin’ around waitin’
  • Trust me, it is still the same – the name of the game is who do you know higher up
  • Many try to stop me, shake me up in my mind
    Say, “Prove to me that He is Lord, show me a sign”
  • But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
    You’re gonna have to serve somebody
    Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
    But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
  • And all the sufferin’ is not to be compared
    With the glory that is to be
  • But I’ve seen the kingdoms of the world and it’s makin’ me feel afraid
    What I got isn’t painful, it’s just bound to kill me dead
    Like the men that followed Jesus when they put a price upon His head
  • For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
    Go tell it on the Mountain, go tell the real story
    Tell it in that straightforward tone
    They’ll hear it again in the mystic hours when a person’s alone
  • And I’m still carrying the gift you gave
    It’s a part of me now, it’s been cherished and saved
    It’ll be with me unto the grave
    And then unto eternity
  • (pause)
  • Love that’s pure hopes all things
    Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
    Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
    Capture your heart and hold it for ransom
  • You don’t want a love that’s pure
    You wanna drown love
    You want a watered-down love
  • The buying power of the proletariat’s gone down
    Money’s getting shallow and weak
  • How many times have you heard someone say
    If I had his money I’d do things my way
    Hmm, but little they know
    Hmm, it’s so hard to find
    One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.
  • And we’re still living by the golden rule –

whoever has got the gold rules

  • Something is burning, something’s in flames
    There’s a man going ’round calling names
  • The glamour and the bright lights and the politics of sin
    The ghetto that you build for me is the one you end up in
    The race of the engine that overrules your heart –

you think that you’re so smart

  • You have laid down Your life for me
    What can I do for You?
    You have explained every mystery
    What can I do for You?
  • Nightclubs of the broken-hearted, stadiums of the damned
    Legislature, perverted nature, doors that are rudely slammed
    Look into infinity, all you see is trouble
  • Maybe someday you’ll hear a voice from on high
    Sayin’, “For whose sake did you live, for whose sake did you die?”
  • Well I’m pressing on
    To the higher calling of my Lord
  • Thump on the Bible – proclaim the creed
  • Jesus is calling, He’s coming back to gather up his jewels
    Jesus is calling, He’s coming back to gather up his jewels
  • If it keep on rainin’ the levee gonna break
    Some people still sleepin’, some people are wide awake
  • Took an untrodden path once, where the swift don’t win the race
    It goes to the worthy, who can divide the word of truth
  • Beyond here lies nothing!
  • Beyond the horizon, in the springtime or fall
    Love waits forever, for one and for all
  • Now, I’m preachin’ peace and harmony
  • The writing’s on the wall, come read it, come see what it say
  • If the Bible is right, the world will explode
  • Cold blooded killer, stalking the town
    Cop cars blinking, something bad going down
    Buildings are crumbling in the neighbourhood
    But, hey, No doubt about it, it’s all good
  • Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose
  • Will I ever learn that there’ll be no peace, that the war won’t cease
    Until He returns?
  • Well, I’m crying to the Lord—I’m tryin’ to be meek and mild
  • Ring them bells Sweet Martha
    For the poor man’s son
    Ring them bells so the world will know
    That God is one
    Oh the shepherd is asleep
    Where the willows weep
    And the mountains are filled
    With lost sheep
  • You know, the streets are filled with vipers
    Who’ve lost all ray of hope
  • But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
    Whom nature’s beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes
  • We’ve reached the edge of the road, where the pasture begins
    Where charity is supposed to cover up a multitude of sins
    But where do you live, and where is the light?
    Why are your eyes just staring off in the night?
  • Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame
    You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name
  • Play the Old Rugged Cross and in God We Trust

Play it for the Reverend, play it for the Pastor

  • There’s only one step down from here, baby
    It’s called the land of permanent bliss
  • You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah
    But what do you care? Ain’t nobody there would want to marry your sister
  • For I know God has mercy on them who are slandered and humiliated
  • Trustin’ their fate to the hands of God

I’m preachin’ the Word of God

  • If I had the wings of a snow white dove
    I’d preach the gospel, the gospel of love
    A love so real – a love so true
    I made up my mind to give myself to you
  • I’ve been walking that lonesome valley
    Trying to get to heaven before they close the door
  • They say that patriotism is the last refuge
    To which a scoundrel clings
    Steal a little and they throw you in jail
    Steal a lot and they make you king
  • I feel the Holy Spirit inside and see the light that freedom gives
    I believe it’s within the reach of every man who lives
  • Now, there’s a woman on my block
    She just sit there as the night grows still
    She say who gonna take away his license to kill?
  • Oh, the tree of life is growing
    Where the spirit never dies
    And the bright light of salvation shines
    In dark and empty skies
  • God knows there’s a heaven
    God knows it’s out of sight
    God knows we can get all the way from here to there
    Even if we’ve got to walk a million miles by candlelight
  • His Master’s voice is calling me

I know who I can depend on, I know who to trust

You were my first love and you will be my last

I’m searching for phrases to sing your praises
I need to tell someone

I’ll lift up my arms to the starry skies
And pray the fugitive’s prayer

  • For the love of God, you ought to take pity on yourself
  • Look out your window, baby, there’s a scene you’d like to catch
    The band is playing “Dixie,” a man got his hand outstretched
    Could be the Führer
    Could be the local priest
  • You know sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace
  • Now you can seal up the book and not write anymore
  • Man thinks ’cause he rules the earth he can do with it as he please
    And if things don’t change soon, he will
  • Don’t get up gentlemen, we’re only passing through
  • I’m trying to love my neighbour and do good unto others
    But oh, mother, things ain’t going well
  • It’s a long road, it’s a long and narrow way
    If I can’t work up to you
    You’ll have to work down to me someday
  • Gonna forget about myself for a while, gonna go out and see what others need
  • We’re well dressed, waiting on the last train
  • But, what good am I if I say foolish things
    And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
    And I just turn my back while you silently die
    What good am I?
  • And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend
  • I heard a voice at the dusk of day
    Saying, “Be gentle brother, be gentle and pray”
  • When you were there
    You were the answer to my prayer
  • They say prayer has the power to help
    So pray for me mother
    Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
    Tomorrow keeps turning around
    We live and we die, we know not why
    But I’ll be with you when the deal goes down

All I have and all I know
Is this dream of you
Which keeps me living on

  • Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through
    He unleashed His power at an unknown hour that no one knew
  • My Lord and my Saviour, my companion, my friend
    Heart fixer, mind regulator, true to the end
    My creator, my comforter, my cause for joy
    What the world is set against but will never destroy
  • In the dark illumination
    I remembered bygone years
    I read the Book of Revelation
    And I  filled my cup with tears
  • Today I’ll stand in faith and raise
    The voice of praise
    The sun is strong, I’m standing in the light
  • Well, there’s preachers in the pulpits and babies in the cribs
  • Are you ready for the judgment?
    Are you ready for that terrible swift sword?
    Are you ready for Armageddon?
    Are you ready for the day of the Lord?
  • This world is not my home
  • I’d  grown cold, I’d grown weary
    And I knew I have sinned
    And I go, seeking shelter
    And I cry in the wind

‘Til I find to my wonder
Every path leads to Thee
All that I can do is pray
Stay with me

  •  But i

Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

  • Look out across the fields, see me returning
    Smoke is in your eye, you draw a smile
    From the fireplace where my letters to you are burning
    You’ve had time to think about it for a while
  • All the others –

They all moved a way, said a voice of a stranger
“To that beautiful home by the bright crystal sea”
Some beautiful day I’ll meet ’em in heaven

  • The Judge is coming in, everybody rise
    Lift up your eyes
  • Tyger, tyger, burning bright
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep
    In the forest of the night
  • And some sweet day I’ll stand beside my king
  • We’re heading for the City of Gold
    Before it’s too late, before it gets too cold
    Before I’m too tired, before I’m too old
    I’m heading for the City of Gold
  • Go tell my companion and children most dear
    To weep not for me now I’m gone.
    The same hand that led me through seas most severe
    Has kindly assisted me home.
  • Goodnight, my love, may the Lord have mercy on us all

Look up, look up—seek your Maker—’fore Gabriel blows his horn

  • Goodnight, my love, may the Lord have mercy on us all

Look up, look up—seek your Maker—’fore Gabriel blows his horn

The short sections of lyrics which are songs written, recorded or performed by Mr Dylan come from the albums listed below:

Slow Train Coming (1979)

Saved (1980)

Shot of Love (1981)

Infidels (1983)

Empire Burlesque (1985)

Knocked Ot Loaded (1986)

Band of the Hand (Original Soundtrack) (1986)

Down in the Groove (1988)

Oh Mercy (1989)

Under the Red Sky (1990)

The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (1991)

World Gone Wrong (1993)

Time Out of Mind (1997)

Live 1961-2000 (2001)

Love and Theft (2001)

Modern Times (2006)

Tell Tale Signs (2008)

Together Through Life (2009)

Christmas in the Heart (2009)

Tempest (2012)

Shadows in the Night (2015)

Trouble No More (2017)

Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020)

For a little fun, why not try to identify which album and songs the segments are taken from…

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