“Obama, he’s on fi-yer!” crooned Alicia Keys, smiling broadly into the camera as she performed for President Obama at his second inaugural celebration. Changing the words to her hit single, “Girl on Fire” (from the recent movie, “The Hunger Games”) to apply to the President, Alicia drew wide applause, as the audience acknowledged and, accepted the change in metaphor for this very special occasion.
Interestingly, fire, would also be the theme for a performance that would dominate the theforty-seventhSuperbowl, on February 3, of this year. Dwarfed by raging flames that shot high into the night, Beyonce stomped and headbanged her way across stage in one of the highest watched events in television history.
Fire. Not a word most want to hear, especially, at a crowded performance. Ironically, it is the one word used that connects President Obama’s first inauguration with his second. Remember, how the 1971 hit, American Pie was selected as the anthem for his first inauguration. Everyone singing together, remembering the good times, looking ahead to what many hoped would be even better times. No one seeming to notice, or care about the words they were swaying back and forth to:
“Good-bye, Miss American Pie” - good-bye … good-bye …..
Words (which for all their popularity) seem less like an anthem and, more like a dirge, in spite, of the spite of the incredibly catchy tune that accompanies them. A strange choice for an inauguration, it would seem, considering the cryptic words that have kept fans guessing since the song first topped charts in 1971.
Reminds me in some ways of those words spoken in ignorance after 9/11.
“The bricks have fallen down, but, we will rebuild with dressed stone. The fig trees have been felled, but, we will replace with cedar” Isaiah 9:10
(Those of you familiar with The Harbinger, will know what I am talking about.)
So, why now? Why, American Pie as the theme for the first inauguration? And, even more interesting, why ,the sly reference to it at the second?
Cloaked in the theme of fire, the words to the fifth verse of America Pie come floating back at us …. “fire is the Devil’s only friend”.
“The President, he’s on “fi-yer!“ Alicia Keys, intones, over and over again, smiling a knowing smile, in a gaze that tells us that fire is a good thing …. her fingers pressing into the keys, in a way only accomplished performers can do. Assuring us that the change in metaphor from ”she’s one fire” to “he’s on fire” should be of no concern in spite of the movie’s title, “The Hunger Games.”
Interestingly, this would not be the only reference in the early weeks of this year to either fire or American Pie. Strangely, this years Superbowl featuring the Ravens and the 49′ers would take place at Mercedes-Benz stadium in New Orleans on February 3, the exact day that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP (the, Big Bopper) Richardson were killed back in 1959. Whose untimely deaths were immortalized in song by Don McClean, who referenced the event, as “the day the music died.” And, whose lyrics ironically, suggest the city of New Orleans (with the usage of the word levee) which, happened to be the chosen site for this years 2013 Superbowl.
And, I would be remiss, if I did not add that Chevy widely known for years, as “the heart beat of America”, represents in my opinon, the country at large.
“Drove my chevy to the levee but, the levee was dry.”
An obvious reference to the decline of a nation.
And, then, there was the Superbowl itself, brother against brother in a showdown that would capture the imagination of the country and, the world. In a performance, punctuated by both fire and darkness, it would be a night of drama that few would forget.
James and John Harbaugh, are brother NFL coaches. One for the San Francisco 49′ers and, the other for the Baltimore Ravens. At a time, when the country itself seems in danger of splitting (once again) there couldn’t have been more (figuratively) at stake.
“Can music (or football) save your mortal soul?”
I did a quick search on the meaning of the name Harbaugh and found it to be rather fitting. Derived from the angle-saxon, it means “shelter or lodging”. Interesting, when you consider that the country was effectively represented with one team coming from the east coast, and, the other from the west. In other words, this game (symbolically) was about us; our home, our “lodging”.
And, among all the strange and unexpected things that could occur in a perfectly choreographed program (with the exception of the game itself) was the 34 minutes, the stadium was plunged in to darkness just after half time - leaving half of the stadium dimly lit and, the other half, completely dark. Note the Mercedes-Benz symbol still visible in the darkness.
Much has been written about this and it should be obvious by now, to all but, the most dull that a time is coming, when brother will be pitted against brother and darkness will seek to overtake the light. A grandiose plan laid out in the auspices of a football stadium; by an enemy, who delights in showing his hand.
“and half-time air was sweet perfume, while the Sergeants played a marching tune, We all got up to dance, oh, but we never got the chance. ‘Cause the players tried to take the field, the marching band refused to yield, do you recall what was revealed, the day the music died”?
Yet, this is not the first time, the 49′ers experienced a darkened stadium. If you will remember back in December 2011, a 25 minute power outage delayed the start of a game on the 19th of December at Candlestick Stadium on the eve of Hanukkah; a warning you might say, for a nation, whose light is close to going out.
The Ravens and the 49′ers
In 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California and by May of 1849, nearly two-thirds of the population would have headed west to claim their part in what is now referred to as,” the American dream” …. getting rich! Thus the term 49′ers. But, just three years earlier, American poet, Edgar Allen Poe penned the words to the poem for which, he would become most famous - ”The Raven”.
“While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. ‘Tis some visitor” I muttered. ‘Tapping at my chamber door — and, nothing more.’”
Heralded, as the first poem produced on the American continent, “The Raven” captured the imagination of poetry lovers around the world and remains immensely popular to this day. Perhaps, even then, there was something tapping at the door of America, something begging for her soul. An unclean presence knocking to be let in, (compare to Jesus, who it says in Revelation 3:20, also, stands at the door and knocks). The raven, according to the Bible (and legend) is an unclean bird, a known thief and a symbol often associated with death and destruction.
Tapping, rapping ….. at our door.
*A raven stealing a gold coin or “the light” (as depicted on this book cover) is a popular theme in art and literature.
California, the golden state. Flourishing with new-found wealth, California had something for everyone. The only thing it lacked was water. Water to turn desert land in to lush gardens that even Eden would envy and water to generate electricity for lights so bright that even the stars would fade from view. Therefore, in the early part of the new century, it was decided that a dam would be built to provide just those things and in 1920, a man by the name of JG Tierney, a surveyor, was sent to scout out a location. Unfortunately, he drowned in his endeavor making him the first victim of what is now known as Hoover Dam.
It may seem like a far stretch to go from the Superbowl to the Hoover dam, but, I see a thread developing. Many of you are familiar with the idea of the Hoover dam becoming the next 9/11. Strangely enough, if you fold a fifty dollar bill “just so”, it appears that the dam has been breached and, water can clearly be seen flowing over the spillway. On the old fifty dollar bill, the dam is intact. How odd! I was talking with my daughter, the other day, the one I often refer to as “Seven Stars” and, she pointed out to me something, which, I found to be quite interesting. If you look at the monument erected in memory of those who died building of the dam, you will see a man who is holding wheat and rye in his upraised hands. And, while a dam is not exactly a levee, it does bring to mind, these words from American Pie.
“Drove my Chevy to the levee but, the levee was dry. Them good ol’ boys were drinking whisky (wheat) and rye. Singing, this will be the day that I die.”
Hoover Dam Memorial.
*For a larger version of this photo, go to this link and click on the image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam
If you look at this memorial, you will find a number of interesting things. For one, there are the words written on each side of the image of the man, which reads: “They died to make the desert bloom”.
And, die they did. With 112 deaths officially associated with the construction of the dam and, another 42, listed as having expired from “pneumonia” – which, was in all likely hood, not pneumonia, at all, but, rather carbon monoxide poisoning from the poorly ventilated tunnels, in which, they were working; (a fact, Six Companies, the company contracted to build the dam never owned up to for a number of reasons, one of which, included paying out compensation to the victims families).
Yes, a total of 154 men gave their lives to bring light and life to the desert Southwest, without whom, much of what we see today, would not exist, including the glittering lights of Vegas and the cameras on which, the studios of Hollywood roll.
Of the official deaths, none was more curious than the last, (Mr. Patrick W. Tierney), who, died, an exact 13 years, “to the day” of the first victim, his father, Mr. JG Tierney, who, perished, (as mentioned above) while scouting out a location for the dam on December 20, 1922. Interesting, when you consider the name Tierney, which, is Irish in origin, and, means “noble”, Lord”, or “descendant of a Lord.” And, in pronunciation sounds a lot like “tyranny”.
Looking again at the image, a man is seen with water rising up around him or rising up out of the waters – depending on how you look at it. Either way, it is an odd choice for a memorial, in my opinion. Kind of morbid.
Also, odd, is the appearance of the man, as his waist is overly narrow, in comparison to his shoulders. This cannot be an oversight on the part of the artist, but, rather suggests to me that the man depicted here is no ordinary man. He is in fact, like the name Tierney suggests, the descendant of a “Lord” or a ”god”. Maybe even, a hybrid. Rising up from the water, he holds sheaves of wheat and rye in his hands. Causing me to wonder, who, is this man? Is he the one, the London Olympics spoke of (waiting to be born out of the water of destruction)? Is he the one waiting to come forth from the womb of fire and destruction as indicated in Beyonce’s performance.
Is he the one, who waits to exchange our souls for all the material possessions we could ever want or need – as indicated in the Mercedes-Benz commercial below.
Or, is he the raven, tap, tap, tapping at our door? The one the 49′ers sold their souls to long ago. The heartbeat of America, gone dead.
*Friends, the days ahead look to be more difficult and dreadful than most of us can even imagine. We can look at symbols all day long, but, if, they don’t move us, if, we don’t attempt to understand them, they are useless. Yes, symbols are just symbols. But, the fact, is that have always been an important to understanding our lives. What husband or wife, does not look at the ring they wear and understand, what it means? Or, what American, when, seeing the flag flown at half-mast does not instantly, understand, that the nation is in mourning.
As I look at these symbols and some of the history that surrounds them, I am humbled. I realize in a much greater way, how much, we enjoy in terms of luxury and freedom has come at the expense of others, women and children included. Surely, we are a people, who have lost our way. Our society has become one of self-aggrandizement and entitlement; so, completely intoxicated with wealth, luxury and easy living that we no longer see ourselves as we really are; desperately, wicked and desperately in need of a Savior.
But, the enemy sees and mocks us to our faces.
“And, the three men I admired most, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, took the last train to the coast. The day the music died. “
Leading us to believe that God has abandoned us to our sins.
Friends, the judgment of God is coming, not just on America, but, on the world.
It couldn’t be more serious. As nations, we must repent, as individuals, we must repent!
It is time to see ourselves as we really are. Helpless and hopeless, and so in need of God’s mercy and his grace. No longer can we view our sin as a minor scratches on the living room table of our lives, minor infractions, easily buffed out with the help of a little wood polish. Instead, in all humility, we must recognize our wretched condition and confess our need for a Savior, without which, we are forever, helplessly and hopelessly lost. Thankfully, there is still time. How much? I don’t know. I wouldn’t count on it to be very long. As, the Bible says, “today, is the day of salvation” do not put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.
2013 – a year on fire!
How blessed we are to know that it is fire that God uses in the life of a believer to refine us like gold. What the enemy uses for destruction, our God uses for construction! Therefore, we walk not in fear, but, faith, by, the power of the Holy Spirit.
And, as always,
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy