“and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.” I’ve always loved this song; it strikes me as deeply confused in its conclusion but insightful in its observations, and I’m a sucker for a great folk-rock hook. I hadn’t thought of it in I don’t know how long until it popped into my head this morning, and I’ve watched the video several times today already.
As it happened, after I watched it the first time, I flipped over to my Facebook account to find Sarah Palin’s official statement on the murder of George Tiller, about which I’ve blogged here and here. I think the conjunction was appropriate. I don’t know what Saliers was focusing on when she wrote those lines, and I’m reasonably sure that neither she nor Amy Ray share my position on abortion (or much of anything else, except maybe folk music), but I couldn’t help thinking about them as I reflected on the case of Scott Roeder, the man who shot Tiller. If this is who the authorities think he is, he’s been involved in anti-government activities and anti-abortion protests for a couple decades now; it sounds like he started out motivated by a real desire to do something about some of the evil and injustice in the world, and along the way, got twisted into fighting evil with evil.
That happens all too easily, if we’re not careful. It’s all too easy to start accommodating evil, just a little, on the theory that the end justifies the means; but each act of accommodation makes the next just a little bit easier, and makes it seem just a little bit more necessary—and over time, the pace of accommodation increases, until finally it isn’t really even accommodation anymore, because we’re being transformed into the very thing we once despised. It happens all too easily, because it’s always easier to roll down the slope than to climb up it, always easier to destroy than to create, always easier to justify our actions than to repent of them . . . except by the Spirit of God, this is the immutable truth about our souls:
Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable, and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.
Left to our own devices, we lose the call, wander off the path, and are ultimately devoured by the darkness. We may not all do so as dramatically as Scott Roeder—or, for that matter, George Tiller—but there but for the grace of God go we all.