As I write these Project 86 posts, I am reminded of just how powerful their music and lyrics are. While you read the lyrics to this song, perhaps you might start to realize how amazing I've been at choosing songs, because each song's lyrics have perfectly transitioned into the next (I am, indeed, very humble). So here are the lyrics to the Project 86 song, "Sad Machines," from their album Drawing Black Lines.
"An ageless question, universal
They're asking why
Creation destined cries flood the night in pain
They say if You are real then take it away
But man will only look to You lying on his face
Now we lie awake
With shut eyes
So to forever forget this
Their cries, this agony, injustices, suffering
Symptoms of a larger disease
Inside of me and you and me
So try to close your eyes and make it fade away
But open and you'll see
This stain is you, this stain is me
Now so many wonder why it is
So much has gone awry in all of this
And being makes you sigh that you exist
But you can't escape this
Seemingly undeserved is your lot
But generations past and you forgot
We chose to eat our fill and fell to not
This pain is here reminding us to turn and leave
To come back home
Pointing to show us the way"
Whenever I listen to this song my only reaction is, "Wow." It's not often that a Christian band, or a Christian in general, acknowledges the pain and struggle wrapped up in the question of suffering in this world. Suffering exists and it often seems like Christians don't acknowledge it or simply aren't aware. We Christians are often guilty of making life with God seem happy-go-lucky and nothing can go wrong. All the while the truth is that God's Creation cries out in pain. And what a strange thing: the world that God has supposedly created agonizes day in and day out. Logically, then, God doesn't exist... unless we are lying on our face and we have no way to turn except to prayer.
This is our sad fate. We struggle in pain until we can struggle no longer and then we turn to God out of desperation. But the title of the song is so appropriate. We've turned ourselves into sad machines. As long as we are eating our fill of the symptoms of a larger disease we are nothing but machines of this world that we humans have created, and it is a world of great suffering because we become the stain of the world. We sad machines are the stain of the world.
We wonder why there is so much suffering in the world, we wonder why there are 27 million slaves in the world today. How could God let that happen? How could people be so evil as to create such a large underground slave system? How could our government and other governments allow such a thing? The truth is that you and I are the reason. You and I feel the pain but we also create the pain, our own pain and the insufferable pain of others. Part of our sad machine existence is the refusal to admit the part that we play and instead sit around complaining about the role others have played. It's always someone else's fault that so much pain exists, so much slavery exists. True, it is someone else's fault, but it's also the fault of you and me.
The pain should point us back to God instead of away from God. Now, I'm not saying that we should all become believers because that's our only hope. You can if you want and I would rejoice with you, but the God that we believe in is a God of liberation and love. If you choose not to believe in God, at least believe in liberation and love. The pain that you and millions of others feel should point us to the way of liberation and love. We have tried living as sad machines and it only leads to more sadness. Now with our faces on the ground we have no choice but to take a different path.
It's up to you and me, folks. You and I are the stain of this world. So you and I must choose a different path. There is no more time for blaming and complaining and wondering. You and I must do the liberating and the loving, you and I must do the work of justice and hope. Let's not wait for others to do something. It's up to you and me.
And trust me, you are a powerful voice. Flood your political representatives with letters and signatures, organize rallies, raise funds for organizations like Polaris Project. It's up to you and me, and we are powerful.