Carry On Wayward Son
By Mark Mittelberg
I was once a wayward son. I knew what was right, but ignored it. I was 18 years old and living large—or so I thought. I worked at a high-end electronics shop where I could demo stereos for potential customers on fantastic sound systems—turned up loud!
A new album came out during that era, and it became one of my all-time favorites. It was called Leftoverture by the band KANSAS. One particular song stood out: “Carry On Wayward Son.” It was rock and roll at its pinnacle and I cranked it on the best stereos in the store.
That song helped me sell a lot of sound systems, but there was something about it that touched me at a deeper level.
Carry on my wayward son,
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more
Something in me craved that peace … and rest. Over time, God used that message—and a handful of other spiritual influences—to draw me to Him. Not long after my 19th birthday, I gave my life to Christ.
About a decade later I met another one-time wayward son—Lee Strobel. We became best buddies, and we’ve been ministry partners for the past 30 years. So it was natural, when I was doing some early brainstorming with Lee and screenwriter Brian Bird for what was to become THE CASE FOR CHRIST movie, that I suggested using “Carry On Wayward Son” in the film. Lee and Brian loved the idea.
But when it came time to secure the song rights, I had to reach out to two newer friends for help in the process. One was Kerry Livgren, who wrote the song for KANSAS, and the other was Phil Ehart, the band’s drummer. Both are former wayward sons themselves, and both jumped in to help us.
Without Kerry’s and Phil’s help, I doubt the song would have made it into the movie. But with them on board, we were able to get the deal done. I trust that music fans will enjoy hearing this powerful anthem in the midst of this compelling new film, which opens in theaters on April 7.
More than that, I hope they’ll listen to the inspiring lyrics, and let the Holy Spirit nudge them in the same way He did me.
You will always remember
Nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you
Mark Mittelberg is the bestselling author of Confident Faith, and co-author with Lee Strobel of The Unexpected Adventure and Today’s Moment of Truth.
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