Love is Our Cross to Bear by John Gorka

by Sister Julie Ann on April 1, 2009

“I was probably 26 or 27 when I wrote that… but I guess I just started to realize how rare love was. I think of love as a common miracle. It happens to most people, but it’s never an ordinary thing when it happens…  it’s not just you anymore, it’s not just your feelings anymore. You’re responsible for the other person as well.”

-John Gorka

Anticipating and celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity spotlight John Gorka’s folk-inspired acoustic music in Love is Our Cross to Bear.

johngorka.jpgHis stunningly soulful baritone voice and emerging songwriting are note worthy. His material is championed by many -to date more than a score of artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka’s songs including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. All has brought his music to an ever-widening audience.

In 1987, the young Minnesota-based Red House Records caught wind of John’s talents and released his first album, I Know, to popular and critical acclaim. With unusual drive and focus, John hit the ground running and, when an offer came from Windhan john-gorka-x365.jpgHill’s Will Ackerman in 1989, he signed with that label’s inprint, High Street Records. He proceeded to record five albums with High Street over the next seven years: Land of the Bottom Line, Jack’s Crows, Temporary Road, Out of the Valley, and Between Five and Seven. His albums and his touring (over 150 nights a year at times) brought new accolades for his craft. Rolling Stone called him “the preeminent male singer/songwriter of the new folk movement.” His rich multi-faceted songs full of depth, beauty and emotion gained increasing attention from critics and audiences across the country, as well as in Europe where his tours led him through Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland and Germany.

His last recordings include: the Gypsy Life, AIX Collectors Edition DVD, AIX Records, 2007, and Writing in the Margins, Red House Records,2006.


Lyrics: Love is Our Cross to Bear

I didn’t know where to look for you last night
I didn’t know where to find you
I didn’t know how I could touch that light
That’s always gathering behind you

I didn’t know that I would find a way
To find you in the morning
But love can pull you out of yesterday
As it takes you without warning

I want to be a long time friend to you
I want to be a long time known
Not one of your memory’s used-to-bes
A summer’s fading song

It’s from me, it’s to you
For your eyes
It’s a weight, a wonder that is wise
I am here, you are there
Love is our cross to bear

I know I’ll think of us upon that hill
With the golden moon arising
And the stars will fall around us still
While the love is realizing

And so it is until we meet again
And I throw my arms around you
You can count the gray hairs in my head
I’ll still be thankful that I found you

“I think there are many valid interpretations of a song – I try to get it right, and I try to put the song out there. But I feel like the listener completes it. And they can come up with a interpretation that’s at least as valid as the one that might have inspired it.”            

 –John Gorka

What’s your interpretation of the song?

16 thoughts on “Love is Our Cross to Bear by John Gorka”

  1. Sister Mary Carol says:

    The ballad, Love is Our Cross, by John Gorka is pleasant, calm and gentle. The baritone singer accompanied by a guitar is quite peaceful. In listening to this piece a person can reflect on relationships: family, friends, God. Often we want these to be something more than they are. Memories, anticipation and reality become mixed. In the final verses connecting to the Good Friday service and the meaning in our salvation can be extended beyond the words that imply an earthly relationship.

  2. ‘With the golden moon arising
    And the stars will fall around us still
    While the love is realizing’

    I found myself wanting to understand better how Easter is associated with the moon. This is what I found on the top of a google search:

    ‘Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon (PFM) date for the year. In June 325 A.D. astronomers approximated astronomical full moon dates for the Christian church, calling them Ecclesiastical Full Moon (EFM) dates. From 326 A.D. the PFM date has always been the EFM date after March 20 (which was the equinox date in 325 A.D.).’

    Find further good stuff… here:

    I’m sure there has to be some other helpful material out there in the ‘sky library’.

  3. Leslie says:

    The act of loving someone can be a painful process. Loving some one puts our heart in the open where it can be more easily hurt. The things people sometimes do to hurt one another hurt more when it is done by someone we love. Like bearing a cross we bear all the wory and pain that goes into loving and caring for someone. However life would not be worth living with out love. A life with out love is not truely a life lived.

  4. Leslie, your words hold great truth. A ‘yes’ to love opens the door to pruning and woundedness. Love cannot exist without this painful surrender of myself, “for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love.”

    (A great footnote to your comments–Pope Benedict’s encyclical on ‘Christian hope’, section II, Action and suffering as settings for learning hope!)

  5. ltx says:

    I love the song ‘Love is Our Cross to Bear’. I recently learned that love can be painful and defenseless.

    I love your website and it has lots of good things to learn. It’s very impressive that you use technology to spread out Christian love.

  6. Catechesis is ever in need of revising methods, searching for suitable language and utilizing all the means available to transmit the message. Thanks, tlx, for your comments. The internet has the potential to bring us closer to God. May we also find the silence needed to love God and all people deeply.

  7. Susan says:

    A song with many possibilities – different for each listener. I haven’t heard of this artist before, but now I will check out more. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for your comment, Susan. Awareness of the fact that not everyone enjoys the same music or hears the same message is tried and true wisdom. May you find the Lord in your midst this Easter Season.

  9. Kelly says:

    We just posted an article, “Top 10 Christians in Hollywood” (

    I thought I’d bring it to your attention in case you think your readers would find it interesting.

  10. Kelly, thanks for sharing and witnessing your faith. Seeing the goodness in others is ever something St. Francis promoted. When Christian artists witness their faith they are doing what each of us is called to be/do in our own daily lives as well.

    I like this comment made by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas in ‘American Catholics Today’: “For too long as a Church, I think we have been tired and unimaginative to the reality that is happening around us…we can ignite the faith…and put our energy into listening and responding to God’s people, who are as hungry as ever for the gospel.”

  11. Alex says:

    Music is the universal language of the soul. It speaks, not only to my mind, but my very heart. My vocation is to love.

  12. Jody says:

    Sometimes when we experience darkness in our lives, we don’t know how to find God. We know he is there, but we don’t always know how to love God. Not knowing how to love our heavenly Father as deeply as we desire can itself be a cross.

  13. Karina says:

    God does want me to be at a broken place where I’ll just let the Holy Spirit work in my life in whatever way He wants so I can be an instrument for his Kingdom.

  14. Amy says:

    Finding love, hope and strength. Finding things such as the search for certain things (tangible/intangible)after leaving violence. At this point, this song was used as a theraputic tool.

  15. Brett says:

    Love is a choice which requires action. Our Lord’s love for us lead to His sacrifice on Calvary. Our love back to Him and to our neighbors requires sacrifice on our end as well. Through this sacrifice we imitate our Redeemer.

  16. Music is a language that everyone understands. Thanks, Brett, SueAnn, Katrina, Alex, Amy and Jody for sharing your thoughts. May the Lord continue to bless you with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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