Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Too...

I've been listening to Derek Webb again today.  His song "This Too Shall be Made Right" off of The Ringing Bell did what it always does to me; it took hold of me, shook me, beat me, and embraced me all at once.  Here are the lines that cut the deepest, for me at least:

There's a time for peace
There is a time for war
There's a time to forgive
and a time to settle the score
A time for babies to loose their lives
A time for hunger and genocide
and this too shall be made right.

Oh I don't know the suffering of people outside my front door
And I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore
I'm trading comfort for human life
And that's not just murder it's suicide
and this too shall be made right.

The world in which we live is broken.  I am a part of that brokenness.  I am a collaborator.  I don't want to be, and I try not to be, but I am.  Even that wasn't really true.  I try to try not to be.  I want to try to try not to be.  You get what I mean.  That's where this song cuts.  But it heals as well.  It heals with an honest belief in the possibility, the hope, that the God who made the universe still cares for it, and that he has determined that his creation shall be made whole.

This is the tension of true apocalypse.  I'm not talking about Left Behind garbage, but about the late prophetic and early apocalyptic literature of the Bible.  Joel, Obadiah, Micah, Daniel, and Revelation (among many others).  This is the message of the writers of the apocalypses and the so-called proto-apocalyptic literature.  God will intervene.  Not just will, but must.  The world is irrevocably and intrinsically broken, and though we try, and we try to try, and we want to try to try to fix it, to reconcile it, to be reconciled to God himself, we are unable.  So he does it.

An honest appreciation for this biblical literature, and an honest attempt to hold it in tension with the rest of the canon, leads to the kind of paradoxical but true sentiment of Webb's lyrics.  The world is filled with horror.  We must be conscious of it, we must act against it, but we must also understand that it is God who will, in the end, bring it to an end.

1 comments:

jon said...

That is an incredible song I'm going to have to check out. And a perfectly accurate post. Thanks Colin. (I sat through some Left Behind garbage last night so its nice to hear someone use the word apocalyptic the way its meant to be used!)

Seriously, thanks for that post.