Sunday, November 3, 2013

On Your Knees, Boy

Soul Asylum
So finally we come to the end of this epic journey (sic) through Soul Asylum's Grave Dancer's Union. Was it good for you? Frankly, I'm a little tired. But this song… it's sooooo sweet! It's about… well… i think it's about … humility … and the humbler gifts… Click on the title and take a listen.


Tell me how you get that shine
You must polish all the time
Though I know your job is thankless
They will thank you up in heaven

Oh, the Sun Maid
Looking for the shade
The Sun Maid

Though they say she's not too bright
She takes care of all the light
Without you it's cold and stark
We would all be in the dark

Without the Sun Maid
Looking for the shade
She never gets paid
The Sun Maid

You are so taken for granted
WIth each and every seed that's planted
And the earth is so demanding
All the young girls are out tanning

With the Sun Maid
She's such and old maid
She never gets laid
I owe the Sun Maid

Now you're tired, your day is over
Now the moon is one day older

Oh, the Sun Maid...
It's… a song about moms! Or, more specifically, those who do the grunt work. Wiping noses and little tiny bottoms, cleaning and putting food on the table… I mean, the world needs its movie stars and astronauts and brain surgeons… but it also needs teachers, nurses and moms. And this song is an ode to these unnoticed, (hitherto) unsung heroes. 
A lot of the book of I Corinthians is Paul talking about all the different spiritual gifts people can have – teaching, preaching, miracles, healing, tongues, discernment… 

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (I Corinthians 12:4)
He has this great analogy about how the church is like a body. And all the parts are needed. The people with the humbler gifts (wiping asses, for instance) should not think less of themselves, nor should those around them.
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. (I Corinthians 12:24-25)
Therese of Lisieux said it this way:
"If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose,
spring would lose its loveliness."
She called the way of humility
"the little way."
This chapter is followed by I Corinthians 13, the classic wedding reading chapter about love… the point being that no matter what awesome superpower you have… if you don't have love… what good is it?

Now the Sun Maid… she's not all flashy and in your face – she's just hanging out, making things warm and shiny. Nobody notices her, but she's comes up faithfully every day… whether we notice or acknowledge her or not.

She's like one of those people Jesus talks about in his famous Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted because of righteousness.

Bono, kneeling.
He goes on to say that the kingdom of heaven belongs to these people. "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…" (Matthew 5:12)

My own psyche is a mix of pride and humility and teeth grinding resentment. Warranted or not, I can be a bit proud of my writing at times. On the other hand, for about three years, one of my jobs in life was the actual wiping of feces from my child's behind. I never resented it, as my joy in motherhood greatly eclipsed any humiliation I might have felt. I do, though, sometimes find myself resenting some of the other humbler tasks that are part of being me… such as cleaning toilets. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

Tell me how you
get that shine...
What I'm getting at is that … when I am down on my knees scrubbing a skanky bowl… it is at these times that I can remember the Sun Maid and the promise of heaven to the humble and humiliated. A certain surrender of pride and self concept may, in fact, be vital to my access heaven... as to accept Christ is to deny my own righteousness... As Bono says, "If you want to kiss the sky / Better learn how to kneel."

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