The Gospel in a Pop Song

Bruno Mars is pretty hot these days, I guess. All I know of him is his new song Grenade, which I like a lot. It has a simple, pared down sound, under-processed if you will, a welcome change from the over produced music that assaults our ears from popular radio these days.

But the thing that strikes me most about it is the lyrics. The longer I'm a Christian the more I see God in everything and I see God singing this song.

In the first chorus, it's God talking to humanity:

Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash You tossed it in the trash, you did
To give me all your love is all I ever asked
'Cause what you don't understand is
I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my head on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya

Look around, we've got majestic mountains, vast oceans, a wealth of flowers, abundant wildlife, spectacular sunrises, pure white snow, stars in the sky and more beauties upon beauties, food choices from fruits and vegetables to meats and grains with herbs and spices that can be combined in an endless array of tasty recipes.

Gravity doesn't fail us, the sun doesn't take a day off and Earth has yet to stop providing us a hospitable place to live. All for our benefit, put under our dominion and given for our enjoyment. God has richly provided for us.

Yet, we've tossed it away. I'm not talking about environmental stewardship alone here, although that certainly applies. What I'm saying is that God created all this and us with one singular hope - That we would love him. And most don't care. They toss his gift in the trash.

Even more, though, this could be a song sung from God to the church.

Early on there's this:

Should've known you was trouble from the first kiss
Had your eyes wide open, why were they open?

Jesus said that any man who puts his had to the plow and looks back isn't worthy of service in the kingdom (Luke 9:62). He called us to a complete surrender, nothing held back, sold out commitment to him (Luke 14:25-33). It's all or nothing, yet so many claim Christianity yet have their eyes still open to the world.

They love the idea of heaven, the idea of a savior, the idea of forgiveness but they refuse to give up the pleasures of sin. Too many lay claim to the name Christian while still holding onto the world.

To them, Jesus might say this from the bridge:

You said you loved me, you're a liar
'Cause you never - ever - ever did, baby
But that emphatic statement is followed by the same chorus, the same statement of undying, sacrificial love:
But darling, I'd still catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby

Thing is, Bruno doesn't really mean it. It's just a song. Even if the song was informed by his life experiences, by a love unreturned, thrown out and trashed and yet had a faithfulness that remains, he hasn't nor likely would act out that chorus.

But Jesus already did. He died caught the grenade, took the bullet and died and went through the all the pain knowing that we wouldn't do the same. It didn't matter to him, he knew it ahead of time - our eyes were wide open - but His love does not depend on our faithfulness or our commitment to Him.

We serve not a God willing to die for us, but one who actually did.

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