Home > Musical Reflections, Theological Reflections > Something’s wrong with the world

Something’s wrong with the world

In thinking about this lenten season, I have been tossing around ideas of things that I could give up or add to my life in an intentional way. there is an abundance of things that I could do. But the only idea that has really struck a chord is actually not all that spiritual in any way – I want to devote the next few weeks to writing. And then I had the idea of reflecting on “secular” music that speaks of themes that come up throughout lent. It’s no secret that I am rather media deprived and whenever I come across a song in the “secular” world that speaks truth, I get excited and find myself reflecting on it throughout my weeks. So much so that I have been thinking about whether we can distinguish “secular” and “sacred”. That is, if something speaks truth, beauty, wisdom, etc – could this be of God, even if the artist is not a believer? that is, if God is the God of all truth, beauty, wisdom, etc – is it possible for these virtues to exist without him? So this lenten season, I am going to reflect on musical offerings. I invite you to join me as I seek to find the sacred in the ordinary parts of our life and not necessarily in the walls of the church.

Something’s wrong with the world. That’s really not hard to see. What is harder to see perhaps is that I am part of what’s wrong. Theoretically, I know I am a sinner and there are moments when my heart faces this reality. But it is pretty easy to walk around thinking that I am basically a good person who has a few rough edges but generally doesn’t do much that is wrong.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of this day on the calendar, realizing that I really don’t know much. So these thoughts are more my own triggered by the Holy Day, rather than being a commentary on the day. We were exhorted to live a holy lent. It is a time of repentance – of turning around completely and surrendering more of our lives to God. It is a time of facing honestly who I am in the presence of a loving God who is infinite in mercy. As I begin to reflect on how sin taints who I am, I am overwhelmed. Sin runs deep. It infiltrates my desires, motives, actions, thoughts, longings – everything. Even when I do good, my motives are mixed. Oh to love as Christ loves!

And then, I think about the sin in the world and how I take part in what’s wrong with the world either by the things I do or the things that I leave undone. The Roots, in their song Dear God 2.0 present a list of the state of the world. Here are just a few things that they mention:

  • Everybody all in everybody’s dirty laundry
  • Air quality so foul, I gotta try to breath
  • Everybody checkin’ for the new award nominee
  • Looking at all the poverty
  • More beef than broccoli
  • Corporate monopoly
  • Stock market topplin’

Does my talk build up people or tear them down in gossip? Do I think about how I consume in terms of using the world’s resources and contributing to environmental problems? Do I spend time focusing on accolades – mine or others – rather than on God? Do I notice poverty, work towards ending poverty, or merely turn a blind eye? Do I feast and have my fill in luxury, or do I care for my body through what I eat? Do I support companies that have unethical practices? Do I invest my money in Christ’s kingdom?

I think these lines from the song are rather poignant:

Lord, forgive me for my shortcomings

For going on tour and ignoring the court summons

All I’m trying to do is live life to the fullest

How much of our sinful lives are driven by our desire to live life to the fullest? How much is driven by a false idea or a doubt that God’s ways are actually what bring us towards healing and wholeness? Like Eve in the Garden, as she (and Adam) thought God might be keeping them from a wonderful aspect of life – the knowledge of good and evil. Sin is so often the the perversion of something good – we desire love, but look in the wrong places. We desire intimacy but sell our souls to cheap sex. We want to make an impact in the world but get enticed by pride, greed and the like.

Something’s wrong with the world. As a sinner, I am part of what’s wrong with the world. Because, so often, all I am trying to do is live life to the fullest. This lenten season has me praying the words of this song:

Dear God, I’m trying hard to reach you

Dear God, I see your face in all I do

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe it

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