Nailed

October 31, 2013

For Reformation Day. This won’t be to the taste of all my friends but I think it’s kickin!

Lyrics:

I’ve been working for my whole life to get to the other side
And try to achieve true righteousness
All the scourges and whips I cracked
The flesh I ripped off my back
It only led me to emptiness

Here I am, a broken man who’s done all that a man could do
And found that it’s only filthy rags
Monasteries, religious schools, indulgences, laws and rules
It all added up to nothing and darkness and death
Vanity, Heartache, and emptiness
Efforts all fading away
The flesh and defeat that it brings
‘Till You guide me and show me things
That my eyes have never seen before
As I burst forth from the belly of the beast
Never fight it anymore
For the burden on my life has been released
Nail it to the door

Nailed these ninety-five things I’ve learned
They’ll say that I must be burned
For God has no place for heretics
All the things that they try to sell
It’s trickery straight from Hell
To turn it into a den of thieves

See these madmen peddling the wares of dead men’s souls
Collecting on a debt already paid so long ago
There’s fire in my spirit, and fire in their eyes
For now they’ll want to burn me alive
Yet freedom rings
Unworthiness is all I bring
The blood of Christ is all I claim
This grace revealed everything
That my eyes have never seen before
As I burst forth from the belly of the beast
Never fight it anymore
For the burden on my life has been released
Nail it to the door

tncross2.jpgI have been mulling over the strongly visual dimension of Ussher’s preaching on Christ’s Passion. He seeks to paint a picture, directing our gaze to the cross, or more precisely, to the crucifixion. He invites his hearers to ‘conceive…imagine him before your eyes thus represented’, (Works 13.153). This surprised me. It wasn’t what I expected to hear from a churchman of puritan inclination living the midst of Patrick Collinson’s iconophobic and visually anorexic Reformed culture. So the question is, was Collinson wrong (some think so), or was Ussher swimming against the tide. That, and the capacity of the Puritan imagination up to around 1640, is something for me to work on.

In the meantime, consider the words of Luther written against the iconoclasts:

Of this I am certain that God desires to have his works heard and read, especially the passion of our Lord. But it is impossible for me to hear and bear it in mind without forming mental images of it in my heart. For whether I will or not, when I hear of Christ, an image of a man hanging on a cross takes form in my heart, just as the reflection of my face naturally appears in the water when I look into it. (Against the Heavenly Prophets, 1525)

Martin Luther says:

October 31, 2007

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Happy Reformation Day!!

    The beers are on me!