Of Switchfoot and Shakespeare

Of Switchfoot:

To begin with, let me be perfectly honest with you. (It's a fair way to start, I suppose...)

It is a rare day that I listen to Switchfoot music. A very rare day. Misunderstand me not: I've nothing against such musical endeavors, nor those who may be involved as either production or audience. It is merely that the combination of electric guitars and drums tend to overstep the more sensitive side of me, which you can usually find lingering in some old washtub, delightedly testing the acoustics it provides for the more primative harmonica.

Still (being perfectly honest as we are), I have lately heard a song that has eased its way into my affections. And – as your irrepressibly bright noggin has probably already decided – it happens to be by Switchfoot.

Which song? It is likely you have guessed that is well. Yet worry not if you have not gotten ahead of me this time; you only make me feel somewhat better about my manner of rambling  (a feeling which, when given in moderation, is not such a very bad thing). Yet to shed a bit of light, the chorus is as follows: “Your love is a symphony; all around me, running through me. Your love is a melody; underneath me, running to me. Your love is a song.”

It is not the most complicated of songs; yet often, I think, the simplest responses to God’s love are the best and deepest ones that can be given. And perhaps, if not certainly, the same rings true for the love that we share between ourselves. But I fear that is something Ye Goode Olde Shakespeare (we arrive at last!) may or may not have realized…

***

Of Shakespeare:

Shakespeare was not particularly known for his simplicity. And as I did not attempt the reading of Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare with expectations to the contrary, I was fortunately spared any disappointment that may easily have occurred. Yet amid the rhyme and rhythm of such a flourishing lyrical greenhouse, there was one budding verse that stood out to me among all the other blooming things around it.

I found it in Sonnet LXXV (do not dare even attempt to ask me what number that is). And this is the verse's beginning: “So are you to my thoughts as food to life, or as sweet-season’d showers are to the ground.”

I do not have enough hope for Shakespeare to imagine that he is attempting to describe anything but a humanly love. Yet when first I read it, the timbre and color of his words gave me pause. It seemed not so familiar as to make me think that I had read it before -- yet only that somehow, somewhere, I had heard something very much like it.

And at last, it dawned on me. There was a shepherd boy, you see, who used to write things very much like that. And though his heart has long been stilled, his voice was not kept silent; and still it rings clearly in the hearts and souls of many, urging them onward in the love of a greater Shepherd.

The Shepherd, who gathered His sheep in with love and in turn wrote the sweetest, dearest love song that shall ever be heard in the reaches of the universe-- the love song of the Ransomed.

***

Be grateful, my friends, that I did not attempt to write this post in Shakesperean. Not only would I have failed, in the utterest sense of the word, but I would likely have driven you moaning from your computer screens, groping away to find something more loving toward the delicate nature of the eyes.

Yet I hope that this post was simple enough. For it is that which I have learned, and that which I have come to treasure: the very simplicity of love. There is nothing of which I know that has the capacity to be so deep and yet so simple in a single stab of its essence: nothing can be so quietly piercing as love, nor dig as deep nor heal as gently. Love is the most simple complication of life: those who can complicate it, will. Yet those who see life simply will see love simply as well - the deepest expression of our human simplicity, all the sincerity of our faith reflected in that ever-living ember of our souls.

And in the end, it's not so very hard to see... that it's not such a complicated thing, as it is a wildly beautiful thing, this love song we echo.

No. It's not so very complicated at all.

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2 missives:

Tessa Emily Hall ~ Christ is Write said...

Great post! I love Switchfoot, especially this song. Thanks for sharing this! It's beautiful. =)

Anonymous said...

I find the idea of cringing at Switchfoot kind of funny. But I suppose that has to do in part with my prefered style of music. Never the less, I highly enjoyed this post. To me it is reminder that God can comunicate with us in ways we don't exspect. Even if the writing may not have intend to have a Christian meaning, like Shakespeares writing, God can still use it to proclaim His Gospel. That fact alone kind of blows my mind. And I'm sure that if we looked close enough at pop culture we will see Gods word proclaimed. Intended or not, it's there.

P.S. Here is a golf clap for actually reading Shakespeare of your own will.(clap,clap,clap)