If The World Was Ending

JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels

We interrupt your programming – this is a national emergency …

I’ve been pondering this song for a while, first hearing it on the radio as I headed to work. What would I do if the world was ending? Where would I go? Who would I contact? Who would be first in my mind? The singer seems to be filled with insecurity, “you would come over, right?” He seems prepared to throw all caution to the wind, but he’s not quite sure she feels the same way.

This Covid 19 Lockdown has caused many of us to reflect on life and how we spend our days. I have certainly gone from being on the road meeting and speaking to new people daily, to staying at home and talking to a very limited number of people. We know that the world isn’t ending, but there is a sense that life has changed and so have priorities. When disaster strikes, in times of crisis, will someone be there for me and with me? How will I choose to prioritise things that want my attention?

If the world was ending….what? There is a common phrase “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” which crops up a few times in the Bible. The one story comes to mind of a rich landowner who stored up immense riches intending to just sit back and enjoy himself having more than enough for years to come. That night he died…it was the end and he would never enjoy all the wealth he had gathered. (Luke 12 v 19)

If the world was ending…what? Would I just eat, drink and be merry? In Covid-19 am I just eating, drinking and being merry or is there another response?

No Roots

Alice Merton

Ask me where I come from, I’ll say a different land

‘Roots’ has so many meanings – family history, the place where you grew up, the community you are in now, or the culture you were once part of – which might not be the same as your current beliefs and lifestyle.

Can you ever really go back to your roots? Your childhood friends have moved on, your parents will pass away, your home town looks small, and your own ideas about life develop while the whole the world keeps changing. Even if you had some roots once, you can’t ever really find them again.

We are all lost in the universe and the universe doesn’t care. That’s existential angst for you. Alice Moreton is singing about the way we all want those roots, and our sadness at not having them. But I think she has the answer too.

There are many stories in the Bible of people who left home, migrated, sometimes as refugees or captives. The collective yearnings (spread over centuries) are summarised in this passage, Hebrews 11.13-16 where the writer says people “agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth … but they were looking forward to a better home in heaven”.

I’ve got no roots, but my home was never on the ground

Dancing

Kylie Minogue

When I go out, I want to go out dancing

Well, what a star – literally glittering! Kylie Minogue OBE – singer, songwriter and actress also known as ‘the Princess of Pop’ has won every music award there is. She started her career acting in the Australian soap opera Neighbours and since the 1980s has performed around the globe and sold over 70 million records worldwide, becoming the highest-selling Australian artist of all time.

Over the years she has kept audiences excited as she developed her image from girl-next-door through Japanese geisha and disco diva to an all round performer whose elaborate stage shows incorporate vivid burlesque fashion styles. The joyous escapism and camp humour has also attracted an appreciative gay following.

In terms of artistic and commercial success she had it all. Then a personal tragedy struck. In 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have surgery and chemotherapy. She survived and went on to work again after a break, although she is reported to have described the treatment as “like experiencing a nuclear bomb.”

This is why this song means so much to me. My dear late wife went through similar trauma. She had breast cancer, the full treatment, recovered and lived normally for years, but then there was a final recurrence. The illness made us both realise that we are all living on borrowed time and how we need to make the most of life while we can.

Everybody’s got a story

Let it be your blaze of glory

Burning bright, never fade away

And when the final curtain falls, we could say we did it all

The never ending of a perfect day

The lyrics of the hook line can be read in two ways. “When I go out, I want to go out dancing” can just mean “when I leave the house for entertainment, I like to go dancing”. But I think there is a much more poignant way to understand it. “When I die, I want to know that I have lived my life as fully as I could, until the very end.”

But what does it really mean, to have lived life to the full? Is it to get rich and to have been a successful consumer of life’s pleasures? Perhaps these words will help us find an answer.