Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Would Die For You

I'm going to go dangerously close to being hip, emergent, or something weird, at least in my opinion. I am going to back everything I think about with scripture. Don't encourage anyone to make a bible study out of this guy's body of work.

Okay, it's not that big of a deal, but I'm just saying I had a kind of weird realization earlier.

The Lord has often spoken to me through song lyrics on the radio. Maybe not directly like, "Hey! Lara! I put this on Wild 94.1, which you OBVIOUSLY shouldn't be listening to anyways, just so you would learn something right now! Enjoy." Probably, it's more like, things happen to be playing, and something inside me will take truth out of it. Because most musicians describe very spiritual, intimate, human things that are meant to be fulfilled by and defined by God, but just missing the crucial factor that brings all their hopes and dreams to life.

The reason this stuck out to me in particular was that it was on two times in a row, on two stations. I didn't just want to listen to it again, but I infinitely prefer this song to that annoying Rihanna and Drake one ("Just my type" and "na na na na" do not rhyme!) and to even three seconds of Mike Posner (Did it occur to you that she just might really be cooler than you!?).

Stinkin' Bruno Mars' "Grenade" was on repeat in Tampa tonight.

I hate how catchy he is. His songs are so over the top dramatic that I kind of get annoyed, but they will hook themselves into my brain for the rest of the day. Either way, I was really thinking hard about his lyrics:

Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did
To give me all your love is all I ever asked
'Cause what you don't understand is

I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya

I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But you won't do the same

My first question was, why do you love someone so much who doesn't reciprocate? Bruno Mars is all in when it comes to girls. But at first, I was kind of wryly thinking how no one really feels that way, do they? Who in the world would catch a grenade for someone who doesn't really love them back?

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:8

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' [...] The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, 'He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.'" Luke 23:34-35

Taking a moment to consider the gravity Paul holds in the verse from Philippians is important to me now. He doesn't just say that Jesus was obedient to death. He adds an emphasis: death on a cross. Jesus was flogged, stabbed, forced to carry a heavy wooden cross, and was nailed to it, with a thorn of crowns on his head. With every breath, the nails tore harder on his bleeding hands and feet, the only things holding his weak body up. No one would give him water to drink. This form of death was pure torture, and took so long. I've never seen the movie The Passion of the Christ, but I want to; it's sometimes easy to make light of, or simply forget, how Jesus did suffer, and he suffered more than we can imagine. The sin of the world was on him that day, put to death with him in great agony.

And he turned the other cheek.

He forgave those who beat him, hung him on the cross, mocked him, and made the decision to put him there. He knew it was the plan, and willingly did his Father's will in order to make reconciliation for us possible through his blood.

And blood it was; this isn't too symbolic. He literally poured out blood, the life force within him that carried everything through his body every miraculous minute, just like us.

He knew what they were doing, but they did not. They had no idea that they were killing a beautiful Savior King, one who would return in wrath for those who did not put their faith in his power and follow him, loving others more than themselves and spreading good news of peace and hope.

As stupid as "Grenade" seemed to me at first, it's very true that Jesus Christ loves us, despite what terrible lovers we are in return. We cheat on him with other gods, with ourselves, turning inward to become our own deities to serve and love. We ignore him, and don't spend time with him. We are ashamed to talk about him. We come to him just when we need help or have been forsaken by our usual ways of dealing with things, when we've been betrayed by lesser gods.

But he didn't just take a bullet to the brain to die for us -- he went a painful way, one that horrified people of the time to endure, one that made Paul exclaim that he was obedient to not just death, but death on a cross! No, Jesus loves us even more than we dare to imagine.

Would we do the same? Likely not. But Jesus asks our lives of us, not that we go and kill ourselves, but that we die to our own desires, for those only lead to destruction. We will never be satisfied with anything, and will die in excess or in prison to addictions and lies. But when we carry our crosses to the hill and put ourselves there as we are, sinful and selfish, we are resurrected with him in glory! We are new creations, with new hearts, and all our old ways have been killed and redeemed for good.

And that, my friends, is how a noob pop star can teach you the gospel. But, I reiterate, I am not planning on squeezing God messages out of radio hits for a living -- sketchy territory, mostly because I'd look like such a wannabe, haha. (And I don't know that there's hope for Lil' Wayne yet, except maybe the part about open bibles in that "What Is Love?" remake.) I just wanted to share how something I was pretty cynical about became something I can appreciate in a different way.

Maybe sometime I'll dive into "Just the Way You Are" if we really want to go nuts about my boy Bruno, but that's a story for a less sleepy and more optimistic Lara. :)

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