Heavy Cross

The iTunes single of the week is Heavy Cross by The Gossip, a "post punk indy" band going mainstream. The band's bio makes no mention of any Christian connection or intention, and you have to register to see commentaries or reviews of the music. The only actual reference to Christianity is the image of an ornate, upside down cross on the album art for the song. I'm not a fan of that. The cross is not something to take lightly or use sarcasticly. That being said, let me tell you what I do like about this band and this song from a first glance.

The first thing you will notice is that their lead singer is not a normal hottie with a body who wants you to want her. She is, shall we say, a plus size woman with tatoos and very little fear. The next thing I want you to notice is the meaning behind the words.

It's a cruel cruel world, to face on your own,
A heavy cross, to carry along,
The lights are on, but everyone's gone,
And it's cruel

It's a funny way, to make ends meet,
when the lights are out on every street,
It feels alright, but never complete,
without joy,

I checked you, if it's already been done, undo it,
It takes two, it's up to me and you, to prove it,

Life is tough. Sometimes we feel alone. Sometimes we get frustrated and wish everyone would leave us alone. Most of the time we feel like we can handle things ourselves, or at least that's the way we want to do things. You see it a lot of other songs out there. A google search for 'lyrics, my way' gives you songs from Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Limp Bizkit, and Usher, all with the same general idea. I am in it for me, because I am the only one I can trust. Isn't there something more to it than that, though? Aren't we crying out in a different way in every generation and saying the same thing... I matter! I need to know that I matter to someone, to something. I need to know there is a point to things when I have homework that I don't care about, when my parents sooooo don't understand, when summer days are getting too long and I'm so bored that I think I might just go break some stuff to have something to do (I onced chopped down a perfectly good tree for just that reason).

That's why I love this song! It says, "Hey the world is too much to bear on your own. Maybe you've made mistakes. Maybe things have been done to you. Undo it. I checked you. You are OK by me. We are in this together. It takes two, and that's me and you." You know who else says this? God. You know, the one created all that is. The one who not only designed your lungs but is offering you air to breath right now. Yeah, that guy. Jesus said, "Come to me all who work hard under heavy burdens. Because the work I give you is easy by comparison, and the weight is lite."

That doesn't mean that being a Christian is easy and that all we have to do is accept each other. It means that first we have to turn to God to be "undone". Jennifer Knapp has a great song about that called "Undo Me." She sings about the need for confession to God and to others as a first step in "undoing" things in our lives. The song Heavy Cross takes it from there, though. If we've really been honest with God... if we've really accepted God's love for us..... once we have come clean with the things that hold us back we can't help but see others in a new way. The new standard is not the waistline of the singer but the truth in her words. The need to be somebody is not based on telling other people what they or not or whose way things should go. Instead our sense of identity and meaning is directly connected lifting others up and helping them "undo" the things that only God can undo for them.

The cross is heavy if you try to carry it alone. But we are not alone, and the cross has been carried for us. Jesus did say that those who follow him need to pick up their own cross. But once you lay down all the other junk that we all carry though this life you'll find the cross to be a lot easier to carry. Especially since you never have to carry it alone.

Take care, have fun, and be the person your best friend thinks you are.

Rev. Zach
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