May 5, 2013
St Peter’s Bones, by Girlyman (here: http://rd.io/x/QREeaDf_zkU/ )
I had a good friend in college who was a compulsive playlist-compiler, and I picked up the habit from her. Now, everything has a playlist of music. Every season, each event, every mood, every road trip.
Were we ever able to develop the technology, I’d like to just have a soundtrack, please, of my daily comings and goings. And when they make the movie of my life, this song would play at my ordination.
I played “St Peter’s Bones” for a workshop I did a few years ago at a conference on how the church is changing in the 21st century. We were talking about finding the sacred in secular music. I asked the participants what they heard– what feelings, what images were evoked.
“Death!” They chorused, “Decay!” “Endings!” “Mortality!” “Don’t know, but that bird he’s singing about is probably dead” “Real pretty though.”
I was shocked.
I had never heard any of that. I tried to regroup: “To me, the song had always made me think about profound hope, emerging out of stagnation. Through the weight of the past, something new and vibrant manages to push through, again and again.”
I was waving my hands, all frantic– “It’s even sort of like the church,” i said, “all the stuff we’ve been talking about. We’re emerging out of christendom, all newly-born, as the past slowly releases its grip….Getting to be something new, and active….”
Everyone looked pityingly back at me, each one of them my parents’ age or older.
Oh, hey. It could totally be about death. Depending on where you stood.
Resurrection, as hopeful as it is, is not without pain. We don’t get transformed into new life without the shock of losing the old life, and frequently, we sort of liked the old life. It was comfortable, familiar, and we knew where the Starbucks was.
Yet, the paradox of the Christian life is that we aren’t promised a life without death; we are promised a resurrection life. A life where death has become transformed and conquered and redeemed in Christ. We are continually giving up our old lives, our old certainties, only to encounter them again, unexpectedly transformed. But that doesn’t mean we don’t miss them sometimes.
Change is hard, because it involves loss. Jesus assures us, though, that in God, nothing gets lost–just transformed.
Compose a resurrection playlist. I hereby challenge you, by my completely non-existent power as a blogger, to use only non-hymnal and/or secular songs. Go nuts in the comments!