She wakes, looks down to discover her prosthetic foot, assembles a fake limb out of a can of something inflammable from a dead guy’s gun, lights her own new leg and uses it to nimbly fight her way out of a warehouse crawling with attackers.
If only we could take on the world as successfully as the flaming-legged lady from Muse’s latest single, Dig Down (April 2017). And the world needs taking on, Muse’s political latest album Drones suggests. It seems appropriate that a band with such political lyrics is headlining at Reading 2017, while, as I write, America and North Korea are locked in an unnervingly aggressive debate and we’re all praying there won’t be a nuclear war!
Reapers, the fifth track on Drones’, takes its name from armed drones used in Afghanistan and Iraq, controlled on a video screen in Nevada. The album launches a chilling critique of modern warfare and the political scene with pointed lyrics such as ‘you’ve got the CIA, babe, But all you’ve done is brutalise’.
Muse have got to be the most intriguing of Reading’s headliners this year, with Bellamy’s amazing vocal range, passionate performances, and lyrical subjects. Who else can write a hit on the sympathy of a hostage for their kidnapper (Stockholm Syndrome)? They are a fascinating collection of politics, sci-fi and science references.
Dig Down, however, offers us hope, after the chilling Drones. It is about finding ‘faith’ against the odds:
‘When hope and love has been lost … When God decides to look the other way, And a clown takes the throne, We must find a way’
Is the song about love or politics? Either way, it begs the question, where do you find faith in this world? What gets you through personal tragedy or political uncertainty?
Muse’s answer is to look ‘deep down’ in ourselves, and yet, self-reliance and self-love are exactly the problem behind the brutalization in Drones: ‘I think I destroyed them all, It’s human nature, The greatest hunter will survive alone, with no one
left to love.’ (The Globalist, Drones).
Muse claim God is absent and they’ve put their finger on it, in a sense. We live in a godless world – but it’s not so much that God has abandoned us, but that we have abandoned him. We live as if there is no overarching deity to answer to. We are our own gods, protecting our own interests, and this is why the world is such a terrifying place.
The suffering in the world is often used as an argument against God – but the Bible has always had a clear answer: this is not how God created the world, it is the result of our choice, as a race, to discard him and be our own gods. God has allowed humankind freedom from his intervention, we can choose not to do good, and we feel the consequences – a painful and unjust world. And abandoning God even affected the natural world, the Bible says. It’s the story of Adam and Eve – and of each of us.
And when you yourself are the greatest god you have to live for, human relationships with costly, imperfect people inevitably fail. As soon as we get close enough to experience each other’s faults, our own goals are at risk. The philosophy we live can’t do lasting love. It’s insecure …
… But we have a greater purpose than just self-preservation, just animal survival of the fittest.
We have a spiritual dimension and purpose – to worship and follow God and everything he stands for, to live for something, someone, greater than ourselves. And God’s manifesto is to love others before ourselves, because we love God, who is worth it, and who can give the security and help we need – He is the one who is in control of ‘fate’.
There are signs of hope in the world, not just cold remote control warfare. God is changing people, not through political control but one heart at a time. And one person no longer living for themselves can change the course of history. Look at famous Christians like Wilberforce and his friends whose faith, with God’s help, led them to end slave trading.
You have to admire Fiery Leg’s inventiveness – she found a way! But setting fire to your leg won’t always save you! The Bible claims God is still on the throne, and he is the one who can save us. He has come to deal with our greatest problem, our rebellion against him, the one who will judge the world. He sent Jesus to right our relationship with God, pay for our wrongs, and give us evidence, in his life, death and resurrection, that God will one day fix this broken world.
As we see the devastation of life without God, we have the chance to change our ultimate destiny, to right our relationship with God, ask his forgiveness, – not trusting our own goodness but his rescue plan in Jesus – and follow His instructions for life again.