Saturday, March 15, 2008

While I Lay, I Dream We're Better

"Oh My God" - Jars of Clay... with my comments :)

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"

This verse speaks about God setting the "breaks" in our lives - the great Physician, healing the wounds and fractures in our imperfect lives. And yet - He knows there will be "future falls"... no matter the extremity of the healing we receive, we will always fall again. We are human; we fall. It's the way life is. But there is always the option of crying out "Oh, my God...."

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

We can't live life trying to cover up the sources of pain in our lives. We need to let other people know we are real, that we bleed just like anyone else. Jesus didn't come for the sinless - He came for us, the worst of sinners, that his glory and magnificence and grace might be fully displayed in our redemption (1 Timothy 1:15-16). Our healed hurt and "set" fractures displayed are some of the most powerful signposts to guide other people into Jesus' arms. Pardoned sin is nothing to be ashamed of; God has forgotten it, use it so that others might learn.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

If we are truly following God, if we are sincere in our belief... we will grieve for the things that God grieves. If we truly desire to "love our neighbour", then we will mourn when our neighbour mourns, we will cry for the plight of our friends, our families, our enemies. To commiserate, to sympathize, to leave your heart open to the hurts of those around you... this is the love that God has called us to.

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

James chapter one says "but religion God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world". If our religion does not permit for loving and reaching out to the hurting, God does not accept it. Can I reach out to war creators, whores, liars, racial haters... can I love them?

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other

We are all so hypocritical - we all dream of a better world, for the scales to fall from the eyes of our brothers - like they did from the eyes of Saul, that he could finally see truth. But when it comes time for action, we allow our apathy to override our desire for change, we still hate, we still are harsh, we inflict pain with our words and cut with our tongues.

Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

It helps no one to judge. We all have the potential within us for horrible things. I'd like to think that I would never intentionally harm another person, but we just don't know. Yes, we all sin, we all fall short - but we all wonder, we all have some goodness.

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense

There is so much hurt in this world, so much that we as humans can't possibly hope to cure. The power is not within us, we simply aren't strong enough. We are so materially fixated, we want our comfortable chapels and our opulent church pews - the church, the people, we are so deluded, so selfish... I know I ignore the cries of the hungry, our inheritance of a broken planet full of broken people. How can I look into the eyes of a mother holding her dying child and look away? How dare I flip the channel and forget?

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

We are a crying, broken, hurting people. Our beings are so intrinsically connected with one another, so tied in to each other's fate - this is why Jesus told us that if we are unwilling to forgive, to love... what makes us think God would forgive and love us? This last stanza, to me, is an appeal - God, help me to love. Help me to serve, to really strive to understand the people around me and allow Your love to channel through me. Help me, God, to love Your beloved children, Your creation.

May that always be my prayer, and may I truly live it. May I always be on the lookout for opportunities to love.