But, you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.- Romans 5:6-8
It’s a little overwhelming to think about that last statement. While I was still a sinner – Christ died for me. Christ died for me. Four short, unfathomable words. I can’t really wrap my head around that.
But holy smack! That’s what happens when love comes to town!
I was a sailor, I was lost in sea
I was under the waves, before love rescued me
I was a fighter I could turn on thread
Now I stand accused of things I’ve said
This confessional song is featured on U2’s Rattle and Hum album, recorded with B.B. King. The boys from Ireland don’t play it much in concert anymore but apparently B.B. includes it every time. (He’s comin’ to town this May, by the way.) The song is an Every Man song describing the life of a person lost, without Love, recognizing his need for it. And then the testimony: But that was all before Love came to live among us, entered my life, changed me.
It’s also a song that travels through time. The last verse puts us at the cross:
I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice as they pierced his side,
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide
Martin Luther put it this way: I carry the nails in my pockets. Stuart Townend’s How Deep the Father’s Love also carries the idea that it was my sin that held him there. The fact of the matter is, none of us are innocent, we are all sinners, falling short of the glory of God – but that same God demonstrated his love for us that he died for us anyway. Didn’t wait for us to get it together, to stop screwing up, to ‘arrive.’
And just as we were there when Jesus was crucified, Jesus atoning work happens today, every day – he’s still comin’ to town. After all, it’s Friday… but Sunday’s comin’
We sure are having fun singing this song and we’ve come to appreciate anew the musicianship of U2 and B.B. King. We hope we do it justice.