Bruce, Janelle, and Me

This weekend is my birthday and in order to celebrate, my family went with me to the New Orleans Jazz Fest.  What a time of song and prayer!

I say that deliberately.  On Sunday I stood surrounded by young people of all colors and orientations as Janelle Monae pranced and belted out a song of her heart…

This is a cold war
Do you know what you’re fighting for?

I’m trying to find my peace
I was made to believe there’s something wrong with me
And it hurts my heart
Lord have mercy, ain’t it plain to see?

This is a cold war
Do you know what you’re fighting for?

At the other end of the ellipse, Bruce Springsteen stood clamoring for justice and hope,

Forty days and nights of rain have washed this land
Jesus said the money changers in this temple will not stand
Find your flock, get them to higher ground
The floodwater’s rising, we’re Canaan bound

We’ve been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground
We’ve been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground
(I’m a soldier!)

Tend to your flock or they will stray
We’ll be called for our service come judgment day
Before we cross that river wide
The blood on our hands will come back on us twice

These artists point to our longing for authenticity, love, and meaning.  They challenge us to confront our smug assuredness and easy answers.

As we travel the rocky ground of our individual lives and that of our church, I hope that we can do so with as much verve and mercy as these singers embody.

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