I was reminded this week about the power of the modern day poets who fill our airwaves and our ipods. Because, more often than not, the anthems of Radio One dissect, open up and shine a light upon the collective hopes, hurts, wants, frustrations and joys of our society. Never has this been more obvious and so comprehensively achieved than in the case of Lily Allen's 'The Fear.' But it's her song '22' that I reckon cuts us most to the core:
'When she was 22 the future looked bright
But she's nearly 30 now and she's out every night
I see that look in her face, she's got that look in her eye
She's thinking how did I get here and wondering why
She's got an alright job but it's not a career
Whenever she thinks about it, it brings her to tears
'Cause all she wants is a boyfriend, she gets one night stands
She's thinking how did I get here, I'm doing all that I can.
It's sad but it's true how society says her life is already over...'
Is this not 'the fear'? A thoroughly personal, yet commonly held fear, a fear of significance passing us by. It's a plea for purpose, a cry for depth, for something more real. In life. In love.
'Desperate and broken,' Thirty Seconds To Mars currently proclaim, 'We were the Kings and Queens of promise.'
Which begs the question, what went wrong?
'We were the victims of ourselves,' answers the next line.
The song has connected with an age-old truth, one that's true of the faded dreams of a 22 year old about to turn 30, but also true of the nation that sets out seeking peace, yet ends up at war.
Courageously Thirty Seconds To Mars dare to finish their anthem with a declaration: over and over they sing, 'We are the Kings, We are the Queens'. Apparently we have already been restored to significance. We have value.
This is what fans of Jesus hope for. First and foremost you - yes you - your identity is rooted in beauty. Who you are is significant. No matter what relationships you have, no matter what job you choose, whether your dreams fizzle out or are a mighty success, you are first and foremost loved.
Why would Jesus fans make such staggering claims? Because maybe just maybe, when Robbie Williams returned from celebrity exile last year he was right. Maybe just maybe, 'Jesus really died for me.'