Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mysterious Ways

The Word of God ought to feed our spirits daily. But sometimes, if we neglect it, the Spirit may resort to speaking to our hearts directly, trying to convict us. In such cases, he may use unlikely means or tools to speak through. As far as I know, Paul McCartney is not an evangelical Christian, but he is one of those rare rock stars who managed to have a long and faithful marriage and to be an apparently good family man. I would surmise that this is the influence of the Spirit in his life.

Anyway, two new tunes from Paul McCartney's upcoming album, "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard", really speak to me. One is a haunting, beautiful tune in which the main character is young Jenny Wren, an innocent whose "song" has been stolen through the ugliness of the "world's foolish ways". Still, she somehow holds on to her pure, childlike faith in the beauty and goodness of life, seeing past the world's foolishness. By the end of the song she has become a kind of savior figure to all who know her.

Jenny Wren

Like so many girls
Jenny Wren could sing
But a broken heart
Took her song away

Like the other girls
Jenny Wren took wing
She could see the world
And its foolish ways

How we spend our days
Casting love aside
Losing sight of life
Day by day

She saw poverty
Breaking up her home
Wounded warriors
Took her song away

But the day will come
Jenny Wren will sing
When this broken world
Mends its foolish ways

Then we'll spend our days
Catching up on life
All because of you
Jenny Wren

You saw who we are
Jenny Wren.

I was convicted by the phrase "losing sight of life". Whenever I allow the world's broken perspective to darken my vision, certainly I lose sight of the life that is truly worthy of being called life.

The song doesn't explain much about Jenny Wren, who she is, or why she becomes such an important figure. As a Christian, she reminds me of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says He is gentle, pure and holy; He is grieved by poverty-- both material and spiritual. And yet, He remains ever hopeful, always seeing the good in us and also the wonder and goodness of life.

"You saw who we are", the song says about Jenny Wren. Does not the Spirit also see us for who we really are? Not just our lies and hypocrisy, all the ways in which we fail to be Christian, but also the beauty in our souls, the desire within us to be pure and loving, as we ought to be. How beautiful that through His grace expressed to us through the Cross God sees our deepest identity not as the flawed, sinful creatures we experience ourselves to be, but as the saints we were created to be.

The second McCartney song that God used to speak to me is "Promise to You Girl":

Looking through the backyard of my life
Time to sweep the fallen leaves away
Like the sun that rises everyday
We can chase the dark clouds from the sky

I gave my promise to you girl
I don't want to take it back
You and me, side by side,
We know how to change the world
That is why
I gave my promise to you girl

Hey why wait another day
That won't get us anywhere
All the time
That it takes
To repair this brave old world
Will be ours
I gave my promise to you girl

Every single second of our lives
We can use to chase the clouds away

Well there's no more barking up a tree
No more howling at the moon
They won't see you and I
Diving for the deepest pearl

That is why I gave my promise to you girl

Looking through the backyard of my life
Time to sweep the fallen leaves away

Where as Jenny Wren is melancholy, Promise to You Girl is a lively, happy number. The song reminds me of my promise to love and cherish my wife. I know how far short I fall on this. And it reminds me that the partnership we have isn't primarily about making each other happy, but about being a team as we take on the challenge to "repair this brave old world". From a Christian perspective, this means to pray and work together so that the kingdom purposes, as expressed by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount, will be accomplished here on Earth.

I relate to the sense of urgency expressed in the song, and I love the lines that open and close the song:

Looking through the backyard of my life
Time to sweep the fallen leaves away

Thank you Spirit, for using these songs to speak to my heart.

You can listen to these songs by going to Paul McCartney's website and becoming a member (free).

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