Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Talk from the pool party

Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight What I’ve Done

I have worshipped to this song on numerous occasions. I’ve held my hands up as the tears come down asking God for mercy. The chorus rings in your ears afterwards:
Let mercy come and wash away what I’ve done.
This is a good prayer, especially if you’re being as honest as Linkin Park usually is about the sinful estate of humanity. The video shows glimpses of gobs of guilty things we’ve done as humans: hated one another, bombed one another, fired firehoses at one another, burned one another, beat one another. Nature itself has not been immune to our sinful ways, we've pillaged, killed, and polluted it as well. Yet interspliced with that horror there has been hope, we’ve saved one another, helped one another, carried one another, protected one another. But there is serious injustice in this world. Some gorge themselves while others starve.
Fortunately, Linkin Park doesn’t merely lament the problem they also talk about the solution. Unfortunately they’re somewhat confused about the solution. They would admit this themselves. They look to Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity as equally valid solutions to this problem. They look to Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Buddha, and Mao se Tung as having a synonymous message. They point the finger at the Ku Klux Klan, Fidel Castro, and Saddam Hussein and Hitler as the enemy. They see the answer to this evil in each person facing his or her own history. This too is helpful and honest. It seems there may even be a confession in this video of drug use. But their answer in the end is this: If we face ourselves, if we forgive ourselves we can have new life. We must face ourselves but we cannot forgive ourselves.

Forgiveness must come from the one we’ve wronged. Yes, we’ve wronged ourselves but we’ve also wronged the one who made us. Let’s say you’re experimenting with some fireworks or plastic explosives in the family car. You cut the wrong wire or you light the wrong end and badda-bing badda-boom you’ve just turned the family car in to a burning, fizzing, shooting, smoldering pyrotechnics display for the whole neighborhood. Well, understandably you’re depressed after that. Not only because you’ve been grounded indefinitely and you’ve been expressly forbidden not to play with plastic explosives again, but because you’ve destroyed in one action both your families means of transportation and your own future hope of having a vehicle to drive when you’re 21 which is the approximate age your parents will un-ground you. Then one day you come to grips with the fact that you did a terrible thing and you decide to forgive yourself for what you’ve done. How do you think you’re family would react if you told them “I’ve forgiven myself so let’s move on?” You need to ask for forgiveness against the one you’ve wronged.

A long time ago, in a land far far away there lived another rock star. His world was crashing down around him. His people had done many awful things and he himself had done some particularly nasty things, as rock stars are wont to do. But he felt bad about what he’d done so just like Chester Bennington he wrote a song. And it went a little something like this:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment….

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow…
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy or your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

The rock star was king David, the track was “when Nathan the prophet went to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” The album was the Psalms it’s in the bible (ESV).

This rock star goes to a different place to find forgiveness. To find cleansing, to really deal with his sin he goes to God. Here’s the good news. God is. He’s real. I understand why Chester (the lead singer of Linkin Park) is facing himself. He doesn’t think God is real. He is real. And here’s even better news. He forgives. Confess to him what you’ve done and he’ll forgive you. Mercy will come, but it only comes through God. And just as your sin is and was really big, so too is the price God paid to ransom you back. He paid a lot of money for this car wash, you were one dirty car. But He paid the price of his first and only son. He gave his son so that he might have you.