I didn’t really care what other drivers were thinking as I blasted Weezer’s red album as I drove to meet my friend Ginny for dinner tonight. I didn’t mind if they saw me singing along at the top of my lungs and drumming on the steering wheel. I wasn’t concerned about who noticed when a few tears slid down my cheeks as I got caught up in the beauty and wonder of a timelessly moving three-chord progression.
I was listening to the song “The Angel and the One” which by lead singers River’s Cuomo’s admission is a “spiritual reverie.” Call it tiredness from a long week of class, being hopped up on Jesus-good stuff from being taught by the director of the Billy Graham center, but this was a sneaky Jesus moment where he caught me off guard, and cracked my overly cautious heart open a little wider to be overwhelmed by his love.
The thing I love most about Jesus is he shows up in unexpected places in my life. He just shows up wherever he wants to and doesn’t seem to be bothered that it isn’t in “Jesus approved” places like church, Bible study or a prayer meeting. He finds me in places I enjoy and places that mean a lot to me- running trails along Lake Huron, laughing with friends in a pub, listening to pop music that isn’t written about God but somehow connects with my deepest spiritual longings. Have you ever felt this? Moments where you felt like you were connected to something bigger than yourself, or that you were profoundly grateful just to be alive and experience all that is good in life?
Listening to Rivers sing out his soul in this spiritual reverie I couldn’t help but be caught up in the song. The words alone don’t do it justice but I couldn’t find it on youtube.
“there is another love that I would rather be obeying,
I see the ecstasy, and already I’m anticipating.
I feel a deeper peace, and that deeper peace is penetrating.
I’ve got the magic in me, I am complete is what I’m saying.
I’m flying up so high, my purple majesty displaying
I’ve reached a higher place that no one else can make a claim in
I’ll take you there my friend, I’m reaching out my hand so take it
We are the angels and we are the ones that are praying
I went to blog this last night on the computer where I’m staying because I don’t have wireless- which is tremendously irritating! While I was waiting for the page to load on wordpress.com I saw this quote that I would have never stumbled across had I not been inconvenient by having to use (gasp!) dial-up.
“religion, like music, is not in need of defense but rendition” –Harry Emerson Fosdick
Hearing the words to a song like “The Angel and The One” and reading this quote reminds me of the deep longing in each of us that wants to connect with something bigger than ourselves. We want to find peace. We want to be complete. And we want to experience these things with friends.
If I could have my wildest dreams come true and my biggest prayers answered it would be for the people I love to hear and believe a new rendition of the message of Jesus. When I was thinking about these people in my life the image from Star Wars came to mind- the one where Han, Luke, Leia and Chewy are all trapped in that nasty garbage chute on the death star- you know, the one with the weird water snake thing, the one where the walls start closing in on them?
I feel like for many people who don’t know Jesus, or even people that are looking to religion to save them trying to see Jesus is like being in that Empire’s garbage chute. All you can see is the garbage of the images, words or people that have misrepresented Jesus. It just all seems bad. Following Jesus or getting involved with “religion” seems like the walls of some cosmic trash chute closing in to crush any fun, joy or independent thought out of life.
Listening to Rivers sing inspires me to live and breath and speak a new rendition of the message of Jesus. I hope this song carries on the wind loud and strong and clear from me and all the other people who follow him. I hope it causes people to look beyond the garbage and realize that because of Jesus it’s you and me and everyone in this world that can sing the song “I’ve reached a higher place that no one else can make a claim in I’ll take you there my friend, I’m reaching out my hand so take it”