Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Soundtracking Grief and Missing Jesus

"And I miss you..."

Like many Coldplay lyrics, I inevitably intrepret this line (from "Warning Sign"...listen to it on jukebox above) as being about Jesus; to Jesus:

"I miss You." (complete lyric at this link, and at bottom of this`post))

Chris Martin misses Jesus, worships him, and evangelizes about him. For a living.
He can't help "witnessing" to the Rolling Stone reporter who interviewed him:

"I think a lot of our music comes out of that (God). I definitely believe in God. How can you look at anything and not be overwhelmed by the miraculousness of it?"

Anyway,missing Jesus..

Surprisingly, Jesus himself specifically addressed the question of what disciples should do when they miss him:


John Piper, in a great book free online, comments on this scripture:"Fasting is not a commandment, but a prediction of what will seem normal for those who miss the Bridegroom."

To miss Jesus is to fast; as fasting is grieving.

I grieve not grieving.

The "no cliches" and honest (almost guaranteeing it wouldn't sell well in Christian stores!) classic on grieving, Wolterstorff's "Lament for a Son" is now also free online (probably because it didn't sell well in Christian stores!) here It is not to be missed. I realized reading this section, written after his son died, that this is hauntingly similar to what i feel

a)after returning from a mission trip (especially one like this one or this one).

b)in the midst of a fast

Which means that's when I do my best grieving; and are liminal moments I should seek to capture in other contexts; especially in the "sacrament of the present moment"; everytime I do something unordinary and "everyday", like walk into a store:

"I walked into a store. The ordinariness of what I saw repelled me: people putting onions into baskets, squeezing melons, hoisting gallons of milk, clerks ringing up sales."Have a good day now." How could everybody be going about their business when these were no longer ordinary times?....I tried music. But why is all this music so affirnative? Has it always been like that? Perhaps a requiem, that glorious German Requiem of Brahma. I have to turn it off. there's too little brokenness in it. Is there no music that speaks of our terrible brokenness? That's not what Imean: Is there no music that fits our brokenness The music that's ABOUT our brokenness is not itself broken. Is there no broken music?
- Wolterstoff, p 55

Aside: I hope Woleterstorff ha since discovered Coldplay, Radiohead, Sigur Ros et al.

Zach Addison, who lived six blocks from Ground Zero in 2001, recounts and juxtaposes the "back to 'normal' " and the "everything has changedness"of grief:

Later that day, we walked around ground zero with wet towels covering our mouths. It was impossible to breathe. Today, I barely remember what she looked like, but together, we walked out of that apartment into a world that had forever changed. We opened the doors to our apartment to strangers - people that had been caught in the storm of debris outside. We offered them towels and band-aids for cuts and bruises. I was talking to one of these strangers in my kitchen - I instinctively apologized to her for my dirty apartment. She laughed - a real laugh. It was silly and completely ridiculous. But she understood I was just as scared as she was. I drank a beer in my living room with a 50-year old businessman who worked at Smith Barney. 10AM - him and I shared a Pabst Blue Ribbon. It was a strange new world, indeed....

....(at the site) all we could hear were the sounds of firefighter’s locator beacons. See, the firefighters wear a little gadget that emits a piercing noise when it’s not reset every few minutes. In the event they become unconscious and/or trapped, these beacons can alert someone to their presence. A chorus of hundreds of whistles, everyone of them attached to a dead man - screaming from a pile of rubble.
-Zach Addison

If I don't fast, i don't hear the whistles when I'm shopping. Or listening to (broken or unbroken) music. Or preaching. The whistles are still attached to dead men. Dead men like Jesus. Whom I miss. Or at least miss missing.

If I don't allow myself such grief/fasting, (Dr Jerome Levin suggests) I will plunge into addiction.

It may mean I may not even know or love Jesus.

A warning sign,
I missed the good part then I realized,
I started looking and the bubble burst.
I started looking for excuses.

Come on in,
I've gotta tell you what a state I'm in,
I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones,
That I started looking for a warning sign.

When the truth is,
I miss you.
Yeah the truth is,
That I miss you so.

A warning sign,
You came back to haunt me and I realized,
That you were an island and I passed you by,
You were an island to discover.

Come on in,
I've gotta tell you what state I'm in,
I've gotta tell you in my loudest tones,
That I started looking for a warning sign.

When the truth is,
I miss you.
Yeah the truth is,
That I miss you so.

And I'm tired,
I should not have let you go.

So I crawl back into your open arms.
Yes, I crawl back into your open arms.
And I crawl back into your open arms.
Yes, I crawl back into your open arms...

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