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She, as countless others musicians, has not made a name for herself by singing overtly Christian music.  I have no idea of what may be her religious thoughts, convictions, or commitments.  Nonetheless, some of the lyrics of her music intrigue me.  They do so because of the various points of resonance they have with basic (read that “essential”) truth about human experience and aspirations.  By the way, the “she” in this case is Celine Dion.

A caveat before going further — The comments in this post are not meant to be a carte blanche statement that if Celine has sung something, it is by definition a “take it to the bank” affirmation of truth.  Why should we expect that of anyone, since even we ourselves don’t achieve that level of truth telling?

Of the 99 Celine Dion songs on my IPod, spread over the three languages of English, French and Spanish, she continues to impress me with her remarkable voice and great interpretative skills.  But, what is on my mind as I write this post is how true to life are some of the lyrics.  By “life” I mean both life with God and authentic human life.

Allow me to illustrate the point referring to I Surrender (it is available on various albums, such as “A New Day Has Come”.)  It is available, of course, on YouTube in various formats.  The following superimposes lyrics over photos of Celine, and is very intelligible.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=AshJi7fBbww&feature=related

There is so much life I’ve left to live and this fire’s burning still

When I watch you look at me, I think I could find the will

to stand for every dream and forsake the solid ground and

give up this fear within of what would happen if they ever knew I’m in love with you.

Cause I’d surrender everything to feel the chance to live again.

I reach to you; I know you can feel it too.  We’d make it through.

A thousand dreams I still believe.  I’d make you give them all to me.

I’d hold you in my arms and never let go – I surrender.

 

I know I can’t survive another night away from you; you’re the reason I go on

and now I need to live the truth. 

Right now there’s no better time.  From this fear I will break free.

And I’ll live again with love, and no, they can’t take that away from me, and, they will see.

Cause I’d surrender everything to feel the chance to live again.

I reach to you; I know you can feel it too.  We’d make it through.

A thousand dreams I still believe.  I’d make you give them all to me.

I’d hold you in my arms and never let go – I surrender.

 

Every night’s getting longer, and this fire is getting stronger.

I’ll swallow my pride and I’ll be alive.  Did you hear my call, “I surrender all.”

I reach to you; I know you can feel it too. We’ll make it through.

A thousand dreams I still believe.  I’d make you give them all to me

I’d hold you in my arms and never let go – I surrender.

 

Right here, right now, I give my life to live again.  I’ll break free, take me.  My everything.

I surrender all to you

Right here, right now, I give my life to live again.  I break free, take me: my everything.

Yes, Celine is singing to a man whose love she is desperate to experience.  That doesn’t surprise us, does it?  But, we know there is a higher “Lover” whose character surpasses Celine’s man as the sun surpasses a candle.

With that said, let’s not forget that we humans can’t get any higher in our motives and actions than love.  Could we fault her for wanting to experience love?  No.  Could we wish her anything higher in human existence than to be “in love” with the most important One in all reality?  No.

The love of which she sings is inextricably linked to several key sentiments, attitudes and behaviors that coincide with basic Christian morality –  “Living again requires us to surrender the life we have been cherishing.  We surrender everything.  We swallow pride.  And, the result?  – We live again!!

I don’t know to what level Celine would take the truth of the lyrics.  But, in light of God’s love, the lyrics point to the great transaction of being awakened to a life-giving and life-freeing love by surrendering all we have considered dear to the Dearest One of all, whose love for us makes our cost look like chump change.

I Surrender is a beautiful contemporary song.  But, it is much more.  It is an example of items in our culture ultimately making sense because of their correspondence to the character of the Creator and His gift of life and love to us through our saving Lord Jesus.  It is an example of how life requires of us the great transaction of surrender to God and the resulting freedom that issues from His presence.

The apostle Paul could cite pagan philosophers.  Simon and Garfunkel can sing of the poets/philosophers writing on the subway walls.  Let’s not fear to cite the truth, even if it is partial, even if it is only a pointer, and even if it needs further elaboration.  The world may be in bad shape, but the hand basket still hasn’t arrived at its final destination.

Thanks, Celine.