Absent – journey’s end

Well, what a journey. I have gone below the surface of a heavy metal rock band’s lyrics and discovered something hugely profound. It’s amazing to think that when we are listening to Metallica we are listening to a Father wound. I wonder if one of the reasons they are so popular is that so many relate to their powerful and vivid expression of this wound.

“Wounds are good fodder for lyrics. They are a great thing to write about. It’s your story.” James Hetfield.

Wounds are such a great source of artistic expression because they run so deep in all of us and they point to something so beautiful. We are all walking wounded. But the pain of a wound can be good if it points you to a doctor. To healing. Jesus said “Healthy people do not need a doctor, sick people do”. He did not come for people who think that they are all sorted. He came for people that know they are sick. He healed tonnes of people but he was really talking about something far deeper than physical health. He was talking about our spiritual sickness and wounds. He came to a people who had rejected God and had in turn been abandoned by him. Not abandoned by an uncaring evil father but a perfectly good and just father who could not ignore or embrace our sin. When we experience abandonment by those we love we sometimes blame ourselves. Most of the time we are wrong to do that. But the question comes from the fact that we did deserve and cause God’s rejection of us.

But God is not just good, he is loving. And in Jesus he experienced abandonment himself so that we could be reconciled to him. Our sin was placed on Jesus and he was rejected in our place. He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” but having experienced total rejection for us, he was raised to life so that through faith in him we can be accepted and adopted. We can actually know God as our heavenly father! This is the true cure for our Father wounds.

 “Judaism and Christianity and what they offer the world in terms of God as father, God as one who cares, God as one who is present, God as one who will provide, God as one who will discipline, that trend in the church now, of men rising up to become good men is a spiritual phenomena”. John Eldridge

What an amazing film. Why is the Father wound so deep? Why does Metallica’s music strike chords with so many? Because God is a Father and we were made to be his children.

In one of the two interviews with James included as Extras on the DVD he is asked: “After being involved with Christian Science do you still believe in Christ” to which he says

“Absolutely… I have learned what great things have happened to people who embrace a power greater than themselves. Myself being able to let go of the steering wheel and not try and drive my life and knowing there is a higher power taking care of all of us. And I don’t have to worry about all of the other stuff I used to worry about. I can just enjoy being me and who I am in his eyes. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ or not, the icon, or the belief that someone is like that and to emulate that behaviour, you can’t deny that it makes you feel good.”

So he believes in Jesus Christ but seems to emphasise the 12 steps higher power view of God. He is not saying explicitly “I believe in Jesus and that he died and rose again for me so that I can be forgiven and adopted into God’s family and know God as my loving heavenly father”. He is more saying (my words) “I believe in Jesus Christ as a higher power in my life who cares for me and looks after me and makes my life so much better and has helped me so much”. However, if you look at the 12 steps and your higher power in Jesus then you are really really close to the gospel.

God is not put off by our wounded cries whether artistic or destructive. He continues to pursue us with his love and call to us in our pain.

The pain of our wounds can point us to the one who can heal us. Mind, body and soul.  A heavy metal rock concert like this

can lead us to Jesus and result in this:





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