Sunday, March 04, 2007

Light Up Ahead - a post by Mark

For years, Further Seems Forever, a popular ‘emo-pop-rock’ band has been producing music that is highly appealing, both in sound and in word. I recently had the opportunity to listen and to watch the music video for one of their songs entitled, “Light Up Ahead.” The video depicts scenes from what appears to be World War I, with a focus on one particular soldier who sees his friend die, and has to leave his friend’s body behind as he himself retreats from the bombing. At first, I thought that the images on the video had nothing to do with the rather positive sounding song title and lyrics but…

Upon reflection and a more careful viewing of the video, I came to realize that the lyrics are actually words from the heart of the soldier who is not killed – words that are generated as a result of his spiritual experience on the battlefield. His smile represents the hope that he has found through faith in a Higher Power – one that can fill “all the emptiness”, and give him something to live for. Initially captivated by the graphic portrayal of the horror of war, I missed the real message – one of joy and expectation – as the soldier demonstrates perseverance through brokenness; realizes that he was spared for a purpose; and looks forward to a life dedicated to following God – the true ‘Light up ahead’.

The meaning of the song really resonated with me – likely because I too have had an experience where I was expected to die, and yet was miraculously spared. I was reminded again of the power of a sovereign God operating in my life, and purposed anew to take time daily to listen to His voice, and to determinedly follow the call that I believe he has placed upon my life. Although times of frustration and discouragement will come, I know that when, as the song says, I can’t see, I will wake up to His eyes steadfastly watching over me and lovingly guiding me.

After watching the video, I tried to determine what it was that made it so intensely powerful. I realized that the combination of audio and visual allows the viewer to be impacted on two levels. Though a song may have some inherent value or meaning on its own, it is only as it is combined with a visual picture that a story with a message – one that is highly relatable – is told, and is ultimately internalized by the viewer. The ability of music videos, through this duality of approach, to powerfully communicate the truth of the gospel message, renders them valuable tools for use by those involved in the practice of youth ministry today.


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