Earlier this week, I was out for a run and got a blast from the past courtesy of Apple Music. “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler came through my AirPods. This song was released my junior year of high school and introduced to me by my love interest, or perhaps quasi-boyfriend, at the time. I guess we were in a “situationship”, as the kids say these days. I’m not exactly sure because he certainly gave me the run-around. And truth be told, I gave him the run-around too. Ah, high school.
Whatever we were to one another, “situation man” and I felt beyond cool riding around in my Toyota Corolla with the windows down, blasting this tune and smoking cigarettes. It was a memory that made me smile while running along the East River. And, of course, all the lyrics came back to me, even though it’s been nearly 30 years.
Sometime since then, I started listening for snippets of spiritual meaning that pop up in secular songs. This is what stuck out for me during my latest listen of “Run-Around”:
It seems my ship still stands no matter what you drop
And there ain’t a whole lot that you can do
Oh sure the banner may be torn and the wind’s gotten colder
Perhaps I’ve grown a little cynical
But I know no matter what the waitress brings
I shall drink in and always be full, yeah I will drink in and always be full
This last line says it all. No matter what life brings, we are filled and sustained by the cup of salvation. This is the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. It is also living water Jesus speaks about in the Gospel story of the woman at the well. “But those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
Is this what Blues Traveler was getting at? Maybe not, but it’s a fair interpretation of song lyrics nevertheless.
Of course, you don’t need lyrics at all to draw spiritual meaning from music. Just take our organ preludes and postludes each Sunday. Or the instrumental music at services of Candlelight Communion. Or the fiddle music and swing of the Doc Wallace Trio, playing at Incarnation on Thursday, July 13!
As a lover of bluegrass, I find fiddle music to be pure joy — feeding the joy of the Lord deep down in my heart. Click here for a taste of the Doc Wallace Trio, and be sure to join us for their benefit concert supporting Hour Children.
The next time music, or any art form, stirs your soul, see if you can pinpoint what makes it spiritually significant for you. My guess is that it will lead you to glorify God, the One who puts a new song in our hearts.