Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Rebel Jesus

What follows are the lyrics to a rather agitating song that speaks of Christmas. As I read it again, it seems to fit well as a Lenten meditation. Possibly we are better equipped to consider it during this season of reflection and repentance than at Christmas.

[Original recording from the Chieftain's album "The Bells Of Dublin"]

The streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for all God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

They call him by the "Prince of Peace"
And they call him by "The Saviour"
And they pray to him upon the sea
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.



1literatimommy said...

The Rebel Jesus seems to articulate exactly what has been on my mind over the past few weeks. I can't help but wonder how often I have worshiped a Jesus of my own creation, instead of the Christ who actually created.

Anonymous said...


The morning slowly gathers in the form of tired faces;
entire families forced to feast on but what guilt can bring.

Workless men, corralled by clipboards, plod across the aisle
as if they bear an unseen weight, or walk beneath a wave;
their children sit alone in their hopes for a tomorrow
not without its yearning, just its hunger and its pain;

I slip amidst the masses, my pall stark against their opal:
the contrast of our histories hangs between us like a fog,
like the gaps between the letters in the silent name of

G * d

I do not look into their eyes, their depths of ragged being;
but only at my shoes as they scuttle across the floor.

What sort of kindly prison is this, where I am on a tour
as a trip into the zoo? My heart, ravenous for feeling,
is foaming at the lips for a taste of all their stories.

The goat god laughs hysterically at thoughts of me as shepherd;
his song has filled my heart with lust, my mouth with taste for mutton.

I ask not for giving, nor forgiveness, but forgetting:
turn me into a reed and let some soldier hack me down,
anoint me with a sponge to bear bad blood up to my savior;
turn me into a stone and let the Lord roll me aside.

Lynn Leaming said...

Steve and I thank you for posting about Brian McLaren's Deep Shift experience. We were blessed to attend and are continuing to pray that the Lord show us how to live out His mission in this world. We were sorry to hear from Gerald that you could not be there because you were with your mom. We continue to lift her up before our Lord. May she feel His mercy and you His comfort.

Anonymous said...


Wow. I suspect that posts like this get few comments bacuse there's just not much left to say.

Anon 3:05 - another wow.