what do I stand for?


We love anthems, we do.

We love songs we can proclaim from rooftops with passion from our gut.

We love an anthem that rallies us around something, puts fire in our bellies, and stretches our vocal chords.

We love an anthem even when it proclaims confusion.

The song, “Some Nights” by fun could not be a truer picture of this time in history and could not have a more enticing, layered melody – a mighty furious, beautiful mess building our Babel.

In the music video, haphazard opposing forces roam while directionless firepower flies and the band pounds out their decidedly lost melody.

The song is certainly saying something.
Even as the chorus rumbles with heavy questions, we are drawn in to sing that something right along with them,

“Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore…
Oh woah, oh woah, oh woah oh oh
Oh woah, oh woah, oh woah oh oh”

Some nights … most nights … I don’t know … luck … wish … who am I?

These are words that describe a generation, words that build the walls of our own Babylon. We have exiled ourselves from meaning and certainty and hope.

And then we made it an anthem.
This is the music of waywardness.

Our art reflects our hearts and in the mirror we see a despairing image. Makoto Fujimura, artist, writer, and speaker, says, “We, today, have a language to celebrate waywardness, but we do not have a cultural language to bring people back home.”

When the music of waywardness becomes the anthem of a generation, one must consider if the straining vocal chords declare a superlative-worthy message or if best is reserved for something absolutely certain.


toda lengua confesará

Churchill College Chapel - TtV of the John Pip...
Image by dumbledad via Flickr

Today, as I walked home from church, a bold, yellow tree blossom painted itself against a cloudy blue sky. The sun was hiding, so I reveled in the splash of color contrasting the browns and grays of the city street.

More reveling is in order today, because one of those “only because God is sovereign and He ordained it so” moments happened. Early this morning, I watched John Piper’s sermon on The Pride of Babel and the Praise of Christ from the (Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ series).

Then, I went to church and worshipped to the (arguably overused) song “Come, now is the time to worship” and claimed such joy in the lines, “toda lengua confesará que el es Dios, las rodillas se doblarán, y un tesoro eterno tendrás en el, si escoges su amor.” (every tongue will confess that He is God and every knee will bow… the greatest eternal treasure is in Him, if you choose His love)

After hearing a sermon about the great wickedness of the people at Babylon – they wanted the praise of men and the security of a city – God used their great sins of pride and self-preservation to fill the earth with a diversity that would come back to bring glory to Christ. What the people did was evil, but the way God uses it points to His sovereignty and His design for all peoples across all nations and languages and tribes to know and bow at the name of the Lord. There’s more, of course, but you’ll have to listen to the sermon yourself.

Then, my friend Eduardo preached on Jeremiah 29:1-14 and I saw again the broken record of our sin – revealed in Israel’s treatment of Jeremiah’s 23 years of prophecy and warning. They still didn’t obey! But, in Jeremiah 29, God reassures His people that He has not abandoned or forgotten them. He is faithful and His promises are true. Though the people may not live to see it, His promises indeed will be fulfilled. In the meantime, they are to work, live, and add to the culture and community of this city where they are foreigners.

I started to think about our condition on this earth. If we live worrying about God keeping His promises, we will not have the heart or mind to serve as He has called us. If we live only looking for rescue out of a situation, we may miss opportunities to see His power and presence exactly where we are (even if we’re in exile).

So, as I was walking home and spotted that bold yellow bloom on the tree, I thought how brave it is for a bud to bloom – with such a short life ahead. It has only a couple weeks of beauty and then it falls to get trampled on the unforgiving sidewalk. Even creation sings that, though the days may be evil, there is reason to burst into bloom and rejoice – for restoration WILL come!

Our faith should lead to bursting blooms today! Well, I’m off to read the Heidelberg Catechism (which I consider quite fitting on Reformation Day!) and craft awhile. I hope you are going to

let LoVe fly like CRAZY