DayBreaks for 8/30/16 – Choose Your Song Carefully
We live in a time where music is readily available everywhere. Couples talk about “our song” that represents their love and life together. Athletes in baseball have “walk-up songs” that plays when they come to bat or go out to pitch. People work out at the gym with earbuds while they listen to workout music. And these songs are chosen because of their appeal to the listener.
In the great classical piece of literature, Homer’s Odyssey, one can find the story of Odysseus, a great hero who was sailing toward his destiny and finds himself confronting a dangerous dilemma. As he is on his way, he must sail through a very narrow passage. It isn’t the passage itself, that is the problem, it is the sirens that are the inhabitants of the place. They were said to be beautiful, mythical creatures – part woman and part bird – that lured sailors with their enchanting music and lovely voices long enough that their ships would strike the rocky cost of the land. Later writers said that they would then eat the shipwrecked sailors who gave in to the siren song that lured them to their death.
Odysseus was warned of this peril, and not wanting to shipwreck himself or his crew, settled on a seemingly shrewd stratagem: he instructed his men to fill their ears with beeswax so that they could not hear the song. He, himself, would not do so – he wanted to hear this strange, beautiful song and so he asked his men to bind him steadfast to the mast of the ship so that he could not steer the ship into danger, but he could hear the sirens because he longed to hear the siren song.
The other character who encounters the sirens in ancient literature is Jason. He, too, must sail past the location of the sirens. But rather than filling his men’s ears with beeswax and being tied to the mast, he is advised to bring Orpheus, the greatest musician, with him aboard ship so that as they pass the island of the sirens, Orpheus could play his music that would be so wonderful and louder than the song of the sirens that Jason and his crew could safely pass – and they do. Orpheus’ music was so overwhelming that they didn’t even hear the siren song that would lure them into death.
What’s the point of these stories? To me, they represent some choices that we must make in life as believers. We say that we belong to Jesus, yet sometimes we want to hear the siren song and are so captivated by it that it can destroy us. We want to hear it – to get as close as we can to the danger without actually giving in. In the case of Jason, he didn’t want to hear the siren song – he believed that something more beautiful and haunting could and would overpower the siren song and drown it out.
We can listen to many different songs: the songs of power, position, passion, money, immorality, infidelity or one of many others – and they can drive us mad. We think we can survive unscathed by “tying” ourselves while letting the songs of these competing things enter our ears and hearts and minds.
Or, we can replace these other songs with the song of Jesus that is far superior to anything the world would use to lure us away from the safety of the Father’s presence.
Which will we choose? What “songs” have you been listening to?
PRAYER: God, I don’t know why it is that we so often try to get as close as possible to giving in to the siren songs of the world when we have You and Your song of love for us. Help us listen constantly to the music that is You and the son of love and grace You sing to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.