Have you ever listened to the same song for more than an hour? How about two? Currently, as I’m writing this, I’m nearly finished with hour three listening to the same song. I was up late, cleaning. (I’m a mom – it’s easier to clean when the kids aren’t actively making it dirty…) I started a youtube video while I cleaned, but just let it autoplay. I have no idea what route it took, because I missed a couple songs in the middle while I was vacuuming. But by the time I finished cleaning and sat back down, it was a reaction video to the song “The Sound of Silence” covered by Disturbed. It’s not a new song to me. I grew up listening to all sorts of folk music as well as music from the 1950’s and 60’s, including Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” But I had never heard this cover.
As the song played, it was immediately a Spirit-Filled Moment for me. I find the original song pleasant and fun to sing along to, but never have I felt moved by the Spirit when listening to the song. After the reaction video finished, I directly searched for the actual music video.
I was covered in goosebumps.
I cried. Hard.
I raised my left hand. NEVER HAVE I EVER naturally felt the urge to pentecostal-style raise my hand. It wasn’t until the end of the song that I looked at my hand in the air in shock (and WASP-y awkwardness).
I watched the again.
And then I started to get that itch that I’ve found something new and I needed to share it with someone. But this all started in the middle of the night, so I had no one to talk to. I turned, instead, back to reaction videos. And there are a ton available! Three hours later, I now know that there are a lot of opinionated people who seem to all really get something out of this video. People who were lifelong fans of the original and people who’d never heard of Paul Simon; nurses, metalheads, kpop fans, even pastors – all moved emotionally by this song. One woman (who had never heard the original) openly wept, and I cried with her. So I got my moment of communal connection, over and over again listening to this song.
Probably about an hour into this journey, Spirit-Filled Moment Level 2 happened. The lyric: “And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made…” abruptly resonated with my spirit differently. I have Moses on the brain because of an upcoming preaching assignment, and there was a sudden shift, like, the tenth time I heard him sing the line, and the neon god became a golden calf. At that point, I had to listen to the whole song over again… again… and I heard the pleas of the prophets. Paul Simon’s words: “Hear my words that I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you.” Phew! Is that not the desperate cry of the prophet to a people who are lost?
Somewhere along the journey, I heard a comment that referred to the Simon and Garfunkel version as the original message of hope to the audience, trying to call attention and redirect everyone. While the Disturbed cover represents the anger from having the message ignored. This was Spirit-Filled Moment Level 3 for me. There have been many examples this year of the angry and unheard prophets. When protest marchers took to the streets all over the Northwest this year, it wasn’t new anger. It’s now reached such a depth of frustration; that these protests still continue to be necessary, because the root problems are still not being addressed.
This song is Moses breaking the first set of tablets. This is the O.T. prophet banging his head against the walls of Jerusalem because no one is listening. But what happens next? Does the angst or anger stop the prophet? Does this song end with defeat? No. The words of the prophets were still out there to be read. The words of the prophets were still being whispered into the world. Moses goes back up the mountain! The work of the prophet continues forever. Don’t let the frustration stop you from speaking your soul’s truth to the world.