For the past couple of weeks I’ve had Graffiti on the Train by Stereophonics going through my head. It’s a brilliant song!
For those who don’t know it, it’s about a young lad who slips away from his lover and sprays the word “Marry me, I love you” on the night train doors. It’s the last train he ever rides. She sees the graffiti in the morning on the way to work, “ecstatic and suspicious”, wondering what it is all about. Hauntingly powerful stuff.
Last night we were at an event where the bishop was speaking about the love of God, and our need to share it with others. But I’m sure the bishop would agree we need to be very careful to explain how Jesus shows the love of God. The cross was not the last reckless act of someone whose life ended once and for all as an example for us to follow. Nor is the message of the cross one we are left to puzzle out for ourselves “ecstatic and suspicious”. To put it another way, the gospel is so much more than graffiti on the train. It is about a message of love that is stronger than death, because this is a love that is able to pay the price for every sin, every act of rebellion, every transgression. That is why it is a love that can offer real comfort to all who believe and trust, because we are not left orphans but are adopted as children of the living God.
But of course we need to work out fresh new ways in every generation to proclaim this love. That’s why I am always on the look out for songs and programmes that help us understand love in a new kind of way, and I think this song does just that. We did have a reference to Elvis Presley last night, but I suspect that might be just a little behind the times!