I’m still a sucker for a heart on its sleeve…
(and a good hook…)
I stumbled across this song a few months ago, back in the spring. I was listening to some Spotify “New Music” playlist, and all of a sudden I heard familiar-but-new sounds: echoes of The Verve and other Brit Pop bands that I’ve always loved.
And then the lyrics started:
Stick with me Jesus through the coming storm,
I’ve come to you in search of something I have lost
Shine down a light on me and show a path
I promise you I will return if you take me back…
Did he just say, “Jesus”? Okay, now I’m really interested…
I confess: I’m not above getting pretty excited whenever I hear someone flirting with the powerful intersection of art and faith. I get even more pumped when I hear someone drop Jesus’ name with some kind of sincerity.
So now I’m definitely hooked.
But then the chorus took me back a bit:
Let ’em get high, let ’em get stoned,
Everything will be alright if you let it go…
So now I’m not so sure.
But the verse lyrics! Still so sincere, so out there (and again with the Jesus!)
My friends are so alone and it breaks my heart
My friends don’t understand we are all lost
Shine down a light on them and show a path
I promise you they will return if you take ’em back
And finally, verse 3:
Come with me Mary through these modern lines
Stick with me Jesus til the end of time
Shine down a light on me and let me know
And take me in your arms and never let me go…
Seriously; what am I supposed to do with this?
When the record came out, I listened, and quickly got taken in. The whole thing really paid off the taste that was “Shine,” with more heart, and vulnerability and a lyrical/musical references and touchpoints that I could easily recognize and resonate with.
But, again… what is up with this tune?
Well, though I believe in lyrical mystery, and I affirm the rights of artists to hold their cards close to their chests, something hit me hard on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks back, and so I’m going offer up my interpretation of this tune.
I had preached that morning on “Powerlessness“, and what it meant to surrender our desire to control our environment and our lives.
And then I remembered that a huge part of our lives and our environment is people.
Spouses. Family. Children. Co-Workers.
Spouses, family members, children, co-workers, friends, etc. who might choose to “get high”, or who might choose to do any number of things that we really wish they wouldn’t do.
And we are powerless to stop them. (Human beings have this sticky way of eluding our efforts to control them.)
When we are confronted with this ultimate test of our desire to control, we really have to choose:
Am I willing to be powerless over the people who are (a) supremely important to me and yet (b) may make choices (in fact, they usually DO make choices) that at the very least I may disagree with, and at most may be harmful?
It sounds impossible but there is a way out, and here’s the deal:
It’s not simple, but it’s easy.
We can choose to (a) love them, and (b) cling to our faith.
One of the most powerful ideas I cling to is that *God is infinitely more invested in my friends/family/co-workers/church than I am. *
God loves them more than I ever could.
And that means that I can surrender them. I can be powerless over them…
… And “let it go.”
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