I’m going to try not to write about it. Difficult as it’s all pervasive and impacts on every aspect of our lives. Easter Sunday was so strange but the online service from Westminster Central Hall was very good, and the chat sidebar told me a number of other friends across the country were also tuned in.
So let me introduce you to Craig Finn, singer with the American indie-rock band the Hold Steady. He writes all the band’s songs and over the last 12-15 years much of his output has told stories about a collection of people whose life experiences are challenging to say the least. There’s a lot about teenage angst, rites of passage, drug misuse, relationship breakdown, leaving home, emotional wellbeing or lack of it)and domestic boredom. Underneath it all though is a lurking sense of spirituality, Finn looking for a deeper meaning in life and every now and again peppering the lyrics with Christian religious imagery. The cross retains a central place in some of these, but I get a feeling that he is a lapsed Catholic who is not quite sure of what he quite believes. But the push/pull of his faith is evident. His latest side project solo CD is entitled ‘I need a new war’ but the cover features a young man capturing on his phone the image of a bright shiny resurrection cross. There’s a lot of conflict and contradiction in this.
There’s a couple of lines in one song on the CD that say ‘I found a bird in the back yard/it flew into a wall/brought it in the foyer. Prayed its sins are absolved. I finally felt useful/trying to save something small.’
I’ve spent a bit if time over the last few weeks wondering if I should try to do a bit more to support the efforts of our church or our local community. I’m edging towards (or probably in, if I’m honest) the risk category so don’t feel that volunteering to be out and about is really the right thing for me to do. So I am looking for small things that will make me feel a bit more useful. Maybe it’s just writing pieces like these so that people can say ‘what is he on about this time?’
I am not really a bird person, and the ultimate horror in our house was when a pigeon fell down the chimney. We had to pull it out by its tail through the unscrewed ventilation panel, stuff it, wings flapping, into a shopping bag before running to the front door and releasing it. So perhaps that was my effort to save something small last year. I guess I’ll keep looking around for chances to save or do something small that might make a big difference.
If you need a change to your usual listening check out the Hold Steady – but they are an acquired taste!