The new title of this blog is taken from a David Bazan song, from his latest release, “Curse Your Branches.” This album, as with all of Bazan’s work, is full of poignant, thought-provoking lyrics. The album is bitter and heart-breaking, exploring Bazan’s falling out with God. The songs are angry, addressing the age-old question of suffering. This is most evident in the title track:
"Oh, falling leaves should curse their branches
For not letting them decide where they should fall
And not letting them refuse to fall at all."
Bazan’s move to agnosticism is, in the most callous phrasing, cliché. However, it is understandable, and people are often driven away from God in hard times. I have never reacted to suffering as intensely as Bazan has, and my faith in God has remained strong throughout my life. However, I find myself drawn again and again to the track "Bearing Witness." In this song Bazan, through his powerful skill as a lyricist, expresses the same attitude as in the rest of the album. However, in this song I find that what pushed him away from God is exactly what continually draws me to God.
“Let go of what you know and honor what exists
Son, that's what bearing witness is”
Hope College is in a period of grief. Yesterday, we learned of the death of two of our own. Emma Biagioni and David Otai were flying in a small, one engine aircraft that crashed in a field near the Tulip City Airport. They were widely known and loved at Hope, and the news hit hard.
However, on Sunday night at the Gathering, I did not see students cursing their God because of the fall of two fellow students. I saw students clinging to each other and strangers praying for each other. Dimnent was full to the rafters despite the somber mood and the cancellation of the normal Gathering service. Last night I truly saw, more than ever before, the community of Hope.
What I know is that the deaths of Emma and David were not fair. I know that Hope is grieving and angry. However, what I saw Sunday - what truly exists at Hope College right now - is a community that is grieving together. I see God in the community of Hope now more than ever. Our God reaches to us in our grief and brings us right back to him. We may not understand, but we can trust. And that is the witness I will bear.
- ► 2009 (347)