I had the wonderful experience of driving up to the states with some girlfriends for a Mumford & Sons concert. Knowing next to nothing about them, it was the perfect excuse to take off and go somewhere new. Canandaigua New York here we go!
Reading some more about Mumford himself I was intrigued by his reading list. He read Chesterton, and said it was “life-changing”. In fact, in their song “the Cave” he alludes to St Francis of Assisi and his time in prison.
In 1201, St. Francis joined a military expedition against Perugia and was taken as a prisoner at Collestrada, spending a year in captivity [i.e. a cave]. It is possible that his spiritual conversion was a gradual process rooted in this experience. Upon his return to Assisi in 1203, St. Francis returned to his carefree life and in 1204, a serious illness led to a spiritual crisis. In 1205, Francis left for Puglia to enlist in the army of the Count of Brienne. A strange vision made him return to Assisi, deepening his religious awakening.
We all have these times where we are in a dark cave. God uses this time of suffering and isolation to transform us but it is up to us to work with that Grace or against it.
Going back to Mumford, he composed a reading list for his fans, and he had just read the Outline of Sanity by Chesterton. The lyrics reflect the belief in a God, in honor, love and commitment. Especially in the single hit, Sigh No More, my favorite verse is “Love, it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free. Be more like the man, you were made to be. There is a design, an alignment to cry, Of my heart to see; The beauty of love as it was made to be.” If only every pop song had this goal of setting sights and expectations of living life well as Mumford eloquently does! He writes about being humble, asking for forgiveness, second chances, living up to expectations and following your calling, in a subtle and developed way.
In my opinion, they really don’t sound like anyone else out there and it was really refreshing to see how faith is intertwined with the secular.