Thursday, April 07, 2005

If I Was a Rich Girl

Gwen Stefani took the time-tested Fiddler on the Roof lyrics and glitzed them up for our modern age. Now, if I was a rich girl, the first thing I'd do is look up someone from another musical: Henry Higgins-- to help with with my diction and grammar. Alas, rich people like Gwen with their homespun hood dialect don't got no need to talk right. She and Eminem make their money sounding like the downtrodden, even though they are choking on their own wealth. One of the ironies of life, I guess. I kept finding the "Rich Girl" lyrics stuck in my head after watching the Pepsi commercials pimping free iTunes in every third bottle. I am addicted to iTunes, but not enough to drink Pepsi. So I bit and I bought the Rich Girl song. iTunes is taking away my retirement ninety-nice cents at a time. But it feels so good. It's interesting to listen to the lyrics of songs. If you have ears to hear and a heart to learn there's much to glean. The song talks about the thrill of having all the money in the world, but the singer realizes, in the end, it matters not at all without the love of the desired one. "All the riches baby, won't mean anything All the riches baby, don't bring what your love can bring All the riches baby, won't mean anything Don't need no other baby Your lovin' is better than gold and I know." Jesus referred to that in the Gospels. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26) We seek after so many things--fame, wealth, security, even love. Those things have their place, but each of them is a counterfeit for what is real, what is better than gold. None of those things will fill the God-shaped hole in our souls. We are forever dining at the banquet of plastic fruit, forever sitting in C. S. Lewis's barn of "The Last Battle."* He offers us the Water of Life, the Bread of Life, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and we spit it out and call it straw and dirty water. We'd rather eat the ersatz because we prepared the meal ourselves. We clutter our souls with everything that doesn't fit and refuse to embrace the only thing that does. In the second part of "Rich Girl," Eve sings, What? It's all love What? Give it up . . . What happened to my life? Turned up side down . . . You know you can't buy these things There is a lesson to be learned, at least from where I'm sitting. Give it up--I can't buy me love or anything else that really matters, for that matter. But if I take what Christ offers, then I become the Rich Girl I've always wanted to be. It's on a grander scale though, like moving from my Easy-Bake oven with the forty-watt bulb to cooking on a brand new Jenn-Air. It's seeing the New Narnia and wanting it. Or believing, as Gwen so aptly put it, "Your lovin' is better than gold and I know." *In “The Last Battle” the final Chronicle of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, Aslan the Great Lion, welcomes Lucy and Edmund and Peter and their colleagues to the New Narnia – to what we might call the Promised Land – or Heaven. It’s an astonishing place where everything is more real and substantial than anything they had ever known. It is a place so rich in depth and color that the mere sight of the most ordinary thing takes your breath away and makes you weep for the sheer beauty of it.   But then, in the midst of all this splendor, the children see a group of miserable dwarves huddled together, convinced that they’re sitting in the rank stench of a barn – a place so dark they cannot see their hands in front of their faces. Lucy is so upset that the dwarves are not enjoying the New Narnia that she begs Aslan to help them see. Aslan replies, “Dearest, I will show you both what I can and what I cannot do.” And as he shakes his golden mane, a sumptuous banquet appears before the dwarves. Each dwarf is given a plate heaped with juicy meats and pies and trifles and ices. Each receives a goblet filled with the finest wine.   But when the dwarves begin to eat, they complain: “Doesn’t this beat all! Not only are we in this stinking stable, now we’ve got to eat hay and rotten cabbage!” When they sip the wine, they sputter, “Ugh! Fancy drinking dirty water out of a donkey’s trough!” These dwarves, Aslan went on to explain, had chosen suspicion instead of trust. They were prisoners of their own minds. They could not see because they would not see Aslan’s gift of a New Narnia. And so, amid indescribable beauty, he could but leave them alone to the hell of their own devising.   (Thanks to Rev. Alan Jackson for his synopsis: http://www.westminsterpres.com/sermons/sermon_02-13-05.htm)

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