The Loudmouth Protestant

December 13, 2007

The Enlightening Shuffle

Filed under: faith,God,life — nickisym @ 2:54 pm
Tags: ,

I have these moments when I need to just shuffle through the songs on my iPod instead of picking and choosing what I will listen to at any given moment and it never ceases to amaze me the enlightenment that takes place when I do that. It started when the first song to play in my shuffle was Angie Stone’s “Lover’s Ghetto” which is a great song that samples Camp-Lo “Lucini”—it’s actually the top reason I even own the song.

After the ghetto came the Via Dolorosa. That isn’t the title of the song but a phrase I became familiar with after listening to Kurt Carr’s “They Didn’t Know.” As the song played while I was toiling, it actually began to mesh itself into my work. I happened to be reading an Advent entry from “God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.” “They Didn’t Know” is about Jesus’ travails on the way to the cross to be crucified and inevitably die for our sins. As I listened to the choir preach in song about the ignorance of the people that led Jesus to the cross I started to read a section in the fourth Wednesday of Advent about the solemnity of Elizabeth’s baby—John—jumping in her stomach at the excitement of being in the midst of the savior—who was at the time in Mary’s belly. The writer, Kathleen Norris, goes on to explain how it is not only a moment of gentle comedy and joy, but is solemn because like all pregnant women, these women both have children that they are destined to give life to and certainly watch die. All of this on the second track of the shuffle party?
After that experience I skipped a few songs because they just didn’t fit the moment and then I hit the jackpot again with Lauryn Hill’s “Oh Jerusalem” from the MTV Unplugged album many don’t understand—myself not included. The moment she began to strum her guitar and wail I knew where this was going. A few minutes before the song started playing I had reached over to check my Blackberry because I saw a message come in. It was from a friend who was lamenting over an assignment that we both have to do within the next few days. I too am lamenting the assignment and I discovered many of the reasons why as I listened to the song. It’s as much about me and my internal issues as it is about the people around me who refuse to approach the assignment with the gentleness required. Without going into too much detail, here are the lyrics to the song.

“Oh Jerusalem”

Oh Jerusalem yeah, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem…

Realizing that there’s no place else to go
And there’s nobody I know who can help me
Textbook solutions are so improbable
Cause everybody else is just as empty
Naked as the day that I was born, I tried to hide
…behind education and philosophy
Hopeless explanation to describe a situation
I can’t see because the world’s on top of me
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Freeing me from dust, and the superficial trust
Of an enemy that seeks to take my breath
Failing to connect, cause I’m morally defect
By reason of the God inside my head
Causing me to see, only what pertains to me
Believing I’m alive when I’m still dead
Limited to earth, unable to find out my worth
Cause I…can’t see past my own vanity
If I’m not included, then I just have to remove it
From my mind because it has to be insanity
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Can I even factor, that I’ve only been an actor
In this staged interpretation of this day
Focused on the shadow, with my back turned to the light
Too intelligent to see it’s me in the way
What a paradox, having God trapped in a box
All this time professing to be spiritual
Naturally pretending, that I’m actually defending
God through my facade don’t need material

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, keeping thee from perfection

Submit to truth, leave the deception of thy youth
So we could walk in the council of authority
Forget the proof, our generation so aloof
Only follow in the steps of the majority
Trust in the Lord, with all thy heart
And lay not to thine, own understanding in all thy ways
Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths
Be not wise in thine own eyes and you can follow him
We judge and condemn, just as ignorant as them
Who religion tells us that we should ignore
Perpetrating we’re in covenant with Him
Exposed by the very things that we adore
We grin and shake hands, then lay ambush for the man
Who has a different point of view then us
Infuriated cause he doesn’t understand
Bringing up those things we don’t want to discuss
Why still do evil, we don’t know how to do good
Walking on in darkness running from the light, ey
Led to believe, because we live in neighborhoods
Telling us what’s going on will be alright
Oh so repressed, so convinced that I was blessed
When I played with my game of Monopoly
Oh to suggest, that my life is still a mess
Who reveal the pride I’m hiding is what’s stopping me

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem keeping them from perfection

Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bare
…fruit of itself except in the vine
I am the vine, ye are the branches, He’s that live in me
And I in him, the same bring forth much fruit
For without me, you can do nothing
Oh Jerusalem, you’re traditions have deceived you
I’ve chosen you, you haven’t chosen me
Do whatsoever, you asking my name he may give to you
But in vain they call my name
teaching doctrines just the same
Justified among themselves
But God know with the heart, what man esteemed as smart
Is an abomination to Emmanuel
Just repent, turn from selfish motivation
So iniquity will not cause your demise
Make you a new heart and a new spirit
…for why would he die
Oh Jerusalem, please tell me why
I have no pleasure in the death of him to die
Says the Lord God where forth turn yourselves and live
It’s not the talkers, but the walkers and his word
Are the only ones the Father will forgive

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, providing you no protection

Oh Jerusalem…

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