This week, Mumford & Sons released first new song off their upcoming album Delta.
Like many of their previous songs, “Guiding Light” is steeped in spiritual undertones.
The son of two influential Christian leaders, frontman and songwriter Marcus Mumford has a complicated relationship with faith. In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Mumford called his spirituality a “work in progress,” and when asked if he would consider himself a Christian, he responded,
I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage. So, no, I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I think the word just conjures up all these religious images that I don’t really like. I have my personal views about the person of Jesus and who he was. Like, you ask a Muslim and they’ll say, ‘Jesus was awesome’ – they’re not Christians, but they still love Jesus. I’ve kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity.
This sense of spiritual unrest is evident in many of his songs, which offer an honest look at conflicted faith, wrestling with God and searching for meaning. Even when the subject is other relationships (“Believe”), lyrics and themes frequently point back to an honest spiritual journey that’s still a “work in progress.”
Here’s a look at Mumford & Sons’ 10 best songs about spiritual wandering.
Awake My Soul
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know /My weakness I feel I must finally show … Awake my soul /Awake my soul /For you were made to meet your maker
Below My Feet
Let me learn from where I have been / Keep my eyes to serve and hands to learn / Keep my eyes to serve and hands to learn / And I was still / But I was under your spell / When I was told by Jesus all was well / For all must be well
Sigh No More
Serve God, love me and mend / This is not the end / Live unbruised, we are friends / And I’m sorry / I’m sorry / Sigh no more, no more / One foot in sea, one on shore / My heart was never pure / you know me
Roll Away Your Stone
It seems that all my bridges have been burned / But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works / It’s not the long walk home / That will change this heart /But the welcome I receive with the restart
Whispers in the Dark
Spare my sins for the ark, I was too slow to depart / I’m a cad, but I’m not a fraud, I’ve set out to serve the Lord / And my heart was colder when you’d gone / And I lost my head but found the one that I loved
I Will Wait
But I’ll kneel down / Wait for now / I’ll kneel down / Know my ground / Raise my hands / Paint my spirit gold / And bow my head / Keep my heart slow
So when your hope’s on fire / But you know your desire / Don’t hold a glass over the flame / Don’t let your heart grow cold / I will call you by name / I will share your road
Thistle & Weeds
But plant your hope with good seeds / Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds / Rain down, rain down on me / Look over your hills and be still / The sky above us shoots to kill / Rain down, rain down on me
I don’t even know if I believe / I don’t even know if I believe / Everything you’re trying to say to me
Cause I need freedom now / And I need to know how / To live my life as it’s meant to be
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.