Thursday, March 09, 2006

This train...


If there is anything in life that constantly returns me to the search for God, it is these words of Jesus Christ: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ In these words I hear the tender voice of a God who longs to hold me as a mother caresses her exhausted child; I hear the yearning soul of an estranged lover longing for a second chance; I hear a mysterious call to community, a call to that mutual dependence in which our salvation (understood as love, liberation and freedom) is to be found.

I was talking with a friend the other day and we discussed our frustrations concerning the shadow side of evangelical faith, about our heart for those who live in the waste-lands and margins of spirituality, but mostly we yearned for the kind of inclusive community that brings the kind of solace and comfort that challenges, enriches and elevates our souls.

A Bruce Springsteen song profoundly moved us both: Land of Hopes and Dreams. Based on an old folk song called ‘This Train’ that had often been performed by Woody Guthrie, this new song seemed to encapsulate the possibility of redemption for all those people who were beat up and broken on the wheels of living. Those people who struggled to find a spiritual home; those refugees caught in a divine asylum. It is a song that gives integrity and hope to the human spirit which aches from within the stress of the most desperate conditions, a song which gives an alternative promised land to the one most spiritual refugees meet; no abject hostility, no shame, and no destitution – just a place of belonging where sunlight streams, where we meet in a land of hope and dreams. In short it became a hymn to perseverance:

Grab your ticket and your suitcase, thunder’s rolling down the tracks
You don’t know where you’re going, but you know you won’t be back
Well, darlin’, if you’re weary, lay your head upon my chest
We’ll take what we can carry and leave behind the rest

Big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

Well, I will provide for you and I’ll stand by your side
You’ll need a good companion, for this part of the ride
You’ll leave behind your sorrows, and let this day be the last
Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine, and all this darkness past

Big wheels roll through fields where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

This train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls
This train carries broken-hearted

This train carries sweet souls departed
This train dreams will not be thwarted
This train faith will be rewarded
This train carries fools, carries kings
This train hears the big wheels singing
This train bells of freedom ringing


Very exciting to hear about Mr Springsteen's new album due for release next month!!!!!!!

3 comments:

Mystified said...

Whilst I have heard that song many times - I had never picked up on the words in the chorus. Just highlights to me what an amazing man with an amazing talent he is! Also makes a very exciting train journey!!!

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

inclusiveness is everything to me when it comes to god....

Mystified said...

...Community