Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Love that Awakens

While many of the singles Lacey Sturm (former lead singer of Flyleaf) has been releasing lately have focused on what you might call a jarring space of desperation or intense, focused devotion, "Awaken Love" goes back to the almost dreamy quality of hope found in songs like "Treasure." Not saying that her other songs lack hope--quite the opposite. But Lacey has that highly emotive style that so well portrays hope out of the dark. Whereas "Awaken Love" simply focuses in on being enraptured in that hope.

I didn't start to appreciate this song fully until the music video came out last month--which is unusual because music videos aren't always my favorite. (Click here to view this one on YouTube.) But this one is alive with that symbolic quality I've come to love about Lacey's music. 

The love the singer tells of awakening to is God's love; the music video lets us see her literally awakening to this song of life that she hears. She crawls through a frame into new life. The dancer I'm interpreting to be her spirit (this would explain why she wears the dancer's outfit, with slight variation, at the end). She has been figuratively dead, and upon hearing the song she awakens to freedom in being, freedom to dance to the song. To dance for the love for which she was created. "Looking for the one I love that every dream come true is made of . . . I fall and land in your embrace." Everything good that we experience on this earth is just an echo of God's love, just a ripple stemming forth from him. We find no greater love.

And so the singer is enraptured in this love that makes her alive like nothing else. She is loved like nothing else and can find this love nowhere else. "Beauty only you gave to me, a wedding dress you made, I'm yours to hide away, I'm yours, all yours to display." Christians are often referred to as being figuratively the bride of Christ because that's the metaphor that we can understand as portraying great love. Being hidden away implies safety and sacredness, and being displayed implies joy and fulfillment of purpose. So though they may at first sound like opposite concepts, they are in fact simply expressions of two distinct concepts. Being hidden away from ill and also being displayed with delight. We weren't created for no reason.

Back up to the beginning of the song. The "love letters" of course refers to the Bible, being God's Word. "Honey in my mouth" could simply be a metaphor, or it could be a reference to communion. Given the image in the video of drinking from a cup, communion seems likely. And I'd say it's open to interpretation what the second crawling through a frame means. It could just be another layer of identity or of relationship with God. Or it could be death. Not everything needs to be about death, but notice some of the lyrics. 

"Apprehension in my skin." She has fear. Given the placement in the song, this could just refer to fear over the majesty and reality of God. But it could also be fear of death, no? Then we have these similar lines spread throughout the song: "Oh would you please take me away?" "Would you take, come and break?" "Come and take, come and break." And followed by "Till we're standing face to face." Now, standing face to face could be metaphorically encountering God not literally encountering him at death, and "please take me away" could be metaphorically taking her away from her metaphorical past life rather than her current mortal life. But do you see what I mean here? 

If we're talking metaphors, death is the big metaphor. We awaken to God's love and experience a new identity in him until one day we crawl through that last frame and open our eyes to see him face to face. Again, I think this explains why her dress changes to the dancer's dress when she goes through the frame into the world of the violinist. She's lost her old body; now it's her spirit that walks through. There's nothing sad or morbid about it because it's just a portrayal of the beauty of experiencing God's love. Lacey has other songs that give voice to sadness. "Awaken Love," though, is about delight and joy. 

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