Look Through My Eyes

Phil Collins

Okay, I know it’s a cliched Disney track (Brother Bear 2003) and didn’t get the reviewers buzzing with excitement. “Allmusic described the song as a “future American Idol standard…devoid of craftsmanship”, adding it “positively radiate[s] Hollywood gloss — it’s simply indicative of pop culture’s voracious appetite for audio fast food”. Wikipedia

However, that doesn’t stop it from being a song that is meaningful to the listener. As a huge Phil Collins fan, who loves vocal harmony and a mean saxophone, it gets a thumbs up from me anyway!

“There’s a better place somewhere out there.

Ooh, just take a look through my eyes…

everything changes, you’ll be amazed what you’ll find if you look through my eyes.

So don’t run, don’t hide. It will be alright, you’ll see.

Trust me I’ll be there watching over you

Over the years I have appreciated the perspectives of friends and family who have been able to see a bigger picture. When my marriage ended I remember my brother telling me that one day I would be able to see things much more clearly; that it wouldn’t always feel like that.
But what about an even bigger picture? It led me to read again one of the Psalms which talks about God seeing our thoughts, our actions, our circumstances. Psalm 139 v 3, 11, 12

You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.

Suppose I said, “I’ll hide in the dark until night comes to cover me over.” But you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you.

When all I want to do is run away and hide; when it feels like the present moment is just too overwhelming; when I just don’t understand what is happening…these are the times to have just a glimpse at how God views some things, because it helps to have someone around who can see the big picture; much deeper than the surface; much further than the horizon; much wider than our limited viewpoints.

Let The River Run

Carly Simon

note the New York World Trade Center twin towers in the background

When I first heard this song, I was so surprised and puzzled by the strong emotional effect it had on me that I wanted to look into it further.

It was written by Carly Simon for the film ‘Working Girl’, a romantic comedy set in 1980s New York. The plot has a young woman secretary who is unfairly treated find justice and achieve success. Here we see Carly Simon singing interspersed with scenes from the film’s opening where workers are making their commute by ferry across the river to Manhattan. In the background is the Statue of Liberty and ahead of them the ‘silver city’. On the surface then, it is about their aspirations to succeed in the big city – materially and maybe romantically too.

For me though, the song transcends this context and speaks of a yearning that goes beyond hopes for material wealth or security. The words ‘New Jerusalem’ immediately lead us towards religious ideas.

Let the river run

Let all the dreamers wake the nation

Come, the New Jerusalem.

Let The River Run was taken up as a theme by the international Women’s March in January 2017, held the day after the inauguration of President Trump in America to protest against his anti-women and anti-human rights policies. It seems to fit the great flow of humanity, joining together like tributaries into a mighty river surging towards justice.

The Bible has many references to rivers, but here is a famous quote from the prophet Amos:

… let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry.

Amos 5:24

Credit to BBC Soul Music Series 27, broadcast on 23 January 2019

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000253j

Call Me

Blondie

“Blondie’s Back” Live Concert at The Town Hall 1999, New York City

In the 1970s Blondie had a string of hits and although the publicity made them look like a manufactured pop product, they were in fact a ‘proper’ rock band as you can see here.

This song was a big hit in the 1980s, having been written as the main theme for the film ‘American Gigolo’ in which Richard Gere plays a male prostitute who is framed for murder. ‘Call me’ is being sung from the point of view of his character, clearly an advertisement and invitation to make use of his personal services. I’d like to re-purpose the refrain of the song as a message from God to us all:

Call me on the line
Call me, call me anytime
Call me, oh my love
When you’re ready we can share the wine

These corona virus days are troubled times and this is an invitation to pray. Pray for those suffering the disease and its after-effects, pray for grieving families and friends, pray for stressed and lonely people, poor and frightened people. Pray for God to guide our leaders, pray for the medical staff and all the key workers. Pray that some good will come from this for our society, our economy and our environment. And if you’re reading this in the future when this particular crisis is over, I’m sure there will be something else to pray about – just read the news.

God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

I Peter 5.7