THE LUNAR REPORT – “FAITH” May 8, 2016

uptown with stadium

I know that God works in mysterious ways. The past few years I have come to understand that He travels some mysterious routes as well. The thing is, I think that I am the only living guy who understands why He chooses to so often travel Independence Boulevard and other nearby roads in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For a while now, I have heard quite a bit of timely music He has sent my way. I have mostly heard the tunes and lyrics while traveling myself down the mysterious road of Independence Boulevard. My work takes me on that route. And I have written about the songs He gave me at some incredibly opportune times. The sounds of those trips took me to loving places I needed to be. With my mom. With my dad. With my son. With those wonderful God-given gifts – my grandchildren. (click “mom” and “dad” to read the others.)

The most notable trip with God and song happened on Easter Sunday a couple of years ago. The day my son and a couple of his children were baptized in a church-side pond. Elton John helped as well on that day. His lyrics reminded me of my mom. And she was a faithful woman who went to her grave urging me to become baptized. I never was. But on that day her grandson and his children were.

I heard music again a couple of Sundays ago.

Look, I shouldn’t have needed to hear the tunes and words I did at that time. I have known what I have needed to know for decades.

Over the years, I have listened to this song many times since it was created and recorded. And every time I heard it, certain emotions kicked in. They were ones that mostly made me close my eyes and see the faces of those folks I love most. And beneath the closed eyelids those times, there almost always appeared a tear or two while I understood the faith I have in my loved ones – and in “life itself.”

Those times I closed my eyes while listening to this song and hearing the musical lyric “you,” my ears and my heart and my mind heard, felt and understood mostly what I feel for my son, his wife and children, and some very dear and loving friends and other family. If I ever lose anything with those guys, there really would be nothing else for me to do in this life. But there was, to me anyway, a more subtle notion in those lyrics.

Those couple of Sundays ago I wasn’t traveling down Independence Boulevard. Not that time. On that day, I was on a parallel road, traveling to my work. I was on a road called Providence Road. Man. How appropriate.

myers-park-methodist-2The road was clear. No traffic problems at all. But you have to understand that a road called “Providence” has a church or two on every other corner in a town like Charlotte, North Carolina. And I had to stop a few times while local off-duty police officers allowed church goers to park their cars wherever they could. It was at the very first Providence Road church traffic stop that I heard yet another song.

At the very same time I heard the harmonica play the opening measures of that song, I saw folks of all ages crossing streets, walking sidewalks and holding church doors open for others. Those visions were the same ones from the Sundays I, at a very young age, spent with my mother, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles.

At that intersection, I saw old folks like my grandparents, carrying their old and tattered bibles, wearing their finest clothing and walking briskly to make the sermon. It reminded me of the spiritual moments I spent with my grandmother, grandfather, their daughters and their families in a Burlington, North Carolina Baptist church. I saw younger older people, too. They were dressed up as well, but not quite as committed or determined to hear the beginning of the sermon. That sight exhibited the more laid-back Jacksonville, Florida approach that reminded me of my mom and me at our neighborhood church. Then I saw a young couple walking to the church door. The man was wearing shorts with a dress shirt that wasn’t tucked in. That reminded me of the new and wonderful direction worship services are taking these days. It reminded me of my son, his wife and their God-loved family who live and go to church near Charlotte.

At that very moment, I knew exactly what that song was saying to me.

Over the years, like most of us, I guess, I have from time to time lost my faith in science, my belief in the holy church, my sense of direction. I have surely been a lost man in a lost world from time to time.  I have lost my faith in the people on TV and in politicians and so much more.

That song I heard that day? I researched the meaning of the lyrics. The song-writer wrote an article to explain his song.

He wrote, “It’s quite easy to be precise about the things I’ve lost faith in – politics, media, science, technology, the things that everybody has. And yet I, along with most other people, have a great deal of hope, and a feeling that things will and can get better. So, what do we place our faith in? I can’t define that as easily as I can define what I don’t believe anymore. So, I haven’t defined it. I’ve just said if I ever lose my faith in you, and ‘you’ could be my producer, it could be faith in God, it could be faith in myself, or it could be faith in romantic love…. It could be all of those things.”

The research I did made it clear to me the artist’s intentions. He simply wanted the lyrics to breath. And to take on whatever life they need to. For whoever needs them.

One of the lines in the opening verse of the song is, “You could say I lost my sense of direction.” That has surely happened to me. So damned many times. But after hearing that song on my drive a couple of Sundays ago, and after ending up at a church crossing on Providence Road, I looked up the definition of the word, “providence.” I discovered that it means “a manifestation of divine care or direction.”

That definition kind of explains it all to me. The song’s chorus is “If I ever lose my faith in you, there’d be nothing left for me to do.” Well, that Sundays’ manifestation of divine care and direction gave me all that I need. It gave me the ultimate vision of all of those in whom I have faith. My son. His wife. Their children. My mom. My dad. My sister. My brother. My family. My loved ones. All of them!

But especially the one who rode down Providence Road with me that day. And He doesn’t just travel that road and others with me. He leads me down those wonderful paths. All of them. That I understand.

Look, at the time I began writing this several weeks ago, I never thought I would be posting it on a day meant to honor the woman who first taught me faith. But Mama always worked in mysterious ways as well!

And, thanks to Mama, I have known all of my life what I am going to say to you now.

If I ever lose my faith in God, there’d be absolutely nothing left for me to do.

Here are the lyrics to the song written by Sting in 1993.

sting-tree

“If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”
You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do
Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do
I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face
I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn’t always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

Click HERE for the new Lunacy, “Mom’s Day.”

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