I had this dream not too long back that there was a whole bunch of people gathered in some castle singing about the hope to come when this tree outside (huge…think baobab) would bloom it’s fruit. The fruit were these huge alien gourd-like things that were multi colored and really…looked alien like. Anyway, before I entered the castle, I noticed the fruit (gourds) were actually opening up. So I get inside with the intention to tell the people that it’s happening—the very hope they’re singing about is going on right now. Well so the crowd quiets down to listen but the Music Man—who’s on stage playing piano with his back to the crowd of people doesn’t stop playing or singing. He just keeps droning on about someday the thing we hope for will happen, and kept giving cues and prompts to the people to sing with him about that hope. Well so needless to say, I was pissed. Everyone was waiting to hear what I had to say—though some were still murmuring about who I was and why they should listen to me, and this guy just wouldn’t shut up. So I got on stage and told him (the Music Man) if he was going to act like a child, I was going to treat him like one. So I bent him over my knee and spanked him repeatedly.
Needless to say that got everyone real quiet.
The floor was mine.
So I proceeded to tell them that the very thing they were hoping to come someday—when all will be right, was going on right now and they’re missing it. So they all followed me outside (except for the Music Man; don’t really know what happened to him after that) and in the courtyard of the castle was a huge table. And all these presents of varied shapes and sizes were on it. And there was so much food and it all looked so crazy (think the feast in HOOK), and everyone somehow just knew which gift was theirs. There were no names on any of them, but people began to go to where there gift was, sit down at the table and open it. When all were open, they ate and talked and showed their gift, and no one was ashamed of their own gift, nor was anyone jealous of someone else’s. We all kinda just knew that all of it—the gifts, the banquet table, and the banquet had all come from the gourds that had bloomed and opened.
I myself was walking around the table, observing everything, but mostly, I was looking for some of the gourds. I wanted more than anything to try the fruit in the gourds and see what it tasted like. I didn’t find my gift, or my chair, because I desired to find a gourd and try the fruit more than to sit down and open my gift — if there was one.
And then I woke up.
Never did find a gourd fruit and get to taste it.
Well so, it really got me thinking about a number of different things—namely God stuff (yes, as usual), and began to ponder the dream. Now I welcome all sorts of interpretations and if you think you know what some of it means, by all means, let me know and comment below. But here’s my interpretation: the Music Man is religion. I’ve always thought of religion in that way and in a number of songs I’ve written that’s the image of religion to me. I think the dream itself pretty much sums up why I call religion the Music Man, but if you just don’t get it, I’ll clarify. The man in the dream playing piano just wanted to lead the crowd blindly. He didn’t even face them. He was so hell bent on his own dogma that he could even stop playing his song for a moment to hear actual truth.
That thing that everyone was singing about was the coming of the Kingdom. The tree was the Tree of Life. The banquet was the Banquet. And it was all happening now—as everyone was so blinded indoors by the Music and the hope that someday it’ll come, but not soon. Maybe when they die. And they were all complacent in that. “Let’s all just sing about the someday but not yet when all will be well and everything that had to be endured will be made up for when the bad is destroyed and the good lasts.”
I’ve really had an issue with this sort of complacent, wishful type of thinking. And the more I read, and the more I looked and the more I hungered, I realized its just fool’s gold. Marx was right. Religion can be the opiate of the masses when what it does is make you settle in your seats, take the beating, saying “thank you sir may I have another!” all in the “hope” that someday it’ll all be alright. That all the pain and suffering and hardship and sin and fallen nature and messing up—all of it, will have been worth it when the day of Armageddon, the end of the world comes.
It’s not as if I was never there myself. I’ll admit. I totally had that thinking. I came to this point (very hippie, lots of Bob Marley influence) where I would say “we’re all just refugees of Zion.” (Read that out loud in your best stoner accent)
But this concept of the Kingdom is something that has been the velvet line running throughout all my thoughts; especially after the dream. I really wanted to wrap my mind around it. So I read through some books, like George Eldon Ladd’s “The Presence of the Future” and seeing just what people think. Then of course, I turned to scripture to see what it says.
I encourage you to go in and see what parables Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of Heaven (GOD), but I want this to be the thing that stands out: before the cross, Jesus told of the coming of the Kingdom—it was at hand. After the cross, he doesn’t really talk about it coming anymore.
It’s as if the cross was some pivot, some corner turned and some new day forming. As if the Kingdom is here—we just don’t see it fully yet. Some don’t see it at all. Some see it, and lose sight, and see it again, and then lose it again. I would fall into this last category. It’s as if I grasp it, only to open my hands and realize nothings there. Then again, there may be still others who may not follow the norm, know the lingo, or dance the right dance, but are caught up in it—knowingly or not.
So what in the world does it all mean (DOUBLE RAINBOW!)?
Part of me really wants to explain this out. Make it practical. Make it theological. Make it something with a profound depth that’ll change your life. But then the other part of me really doesn’t.
The banquet is here. It’s now; and…now. And now. In fact, it’s every now. There’s a party going on and we’re in it. And we’re mixing it up and we’re with people and some are friends of the guy who’s house it is, and others are friends of friends, and still others are people that just saw that there was a big party going on and the door was open so…here they are.
And maybe there are those—there’s some at every party, who’s goal it is to be the life of the party. To be it, the thing that keeps the party going, and all attention is drawn to them. I know that often times, I’m totally that guy.
A lot of people have some sweet skills (like the gifts on the banquet table). Nunchuck skills, computer hacking skills. You know, skills. I have few. One of them though, is my sweet dance moves. My wife can attest, I’ve got some mad sweet sexy dance moves. Anyway, as I was saying, for me, I’m prone more often than not to get so swept up in the party that I wanna be the life of the party. The drunker on it I get the drunker on the attention I get, the more and more I crave it. It may start out that I truly add to the fun of it all; that people really like me being there. But the party invariably goes from being a rad gathering of people from all walks of life, to becoming all about me and my self gratification.
Love me love me love me.
Tell me I’m awesome.
Tell me this party wouldn’t be the same without me.
Until I get too drunk and the “life of the party” becomes the “death of the party.”
I don’t mean to crash here or make this about me, but I use myself to point out that it seems the more you desire to succeed at the party, the more you fail. The more you try to be the life of the party, the more you take away from the life of the party.
I know, I know. I don’t want to sound as if I’m saying “so give up, you’re covered by grace. Whatev’s.”
That’s not it.
This isn’t a ticket to just do what you want.
It’s a ticket to fail at the party.
I mean, maybe—maybe this whole thing is a celebration for us, but not of us. Maybe the Kingdom is a charming Irishman. And he comes in very polite, and wins you over with his awesome accent. And, you invite him to stay. You don’t mind. But then he gets comfortable. And he starts messing shit up. And the life that you thought you had some control of—that you were succeeding at (think Charlie Sheen, “winning, duh.”), begins to seem to fall apart. Until it gets to the point where you realize you never really had a handle on the reins at all.
Does that freak you out? It does me. I hate it.
I used to write scripts in my mind how I wanted my life and its parts to go and would then try my hardest to make life fit the script.
But maybe what God’s inviting you to do isn’t break. Isn’t become heartbroken and forlorn. But join the Irishman. Join the party. Maybe God wants to get you to let go of you, let go of yourself, and party.
Maybe our world isn’t something to simply suffer through or to beget something greater. Maybe that’s just part of the bigger picture. Maybe the whole thing is getting it by not getting it, grasping it to let it slip away. Hear the music and dance. Freely. He–God, He’s got this. This is the story. This is His dream He’s dreaming.
The Kingdom is now. And not yet.
How that looks is between Him and you. Are you gonna let the Irishman in?