Secret of the Easy Yoke

by David Volz

 

Secret of the Easy Yoke
Pedro the Lion - 1998

I could hear the church bells ringing
They pealed aloud your praise
The members faces were smiling
With their hands out stretched to shake
It's true they did not move me
My heart was hard and tired
Their perfect fire annoyed me
I could not find you anywhere

Could someone please tell me the story
Of sinners ransomed from the fall
I still have never seen you
And some days I don't love you at all

The devoted were wearing bracelets
To remind them why they came
Some concrete motivation
When the abstract could not do the same

But if all that's left is duty
I'm falling on my sword
At least then I would not serve
An unseen distant lord

If this is ony a test
I hope that I'm passing
Cause I'm losing steam
And I still want to trust you

Peace be still

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When I first heard this song, written by David Bazan of now split up band Pedro the Lion, I didn't think much of the lyrics. The song's sullen tone and simple instrumentation attracted it to me at first. After a couple of years of being in my song rotation, I listened to the lyrics more closely and became intrigued with the content of the song.

Pedro the Lion started off as a mostly “Christian” band under Tooth & Nail Records. As time went on, the band’s subject matter drifted further from it’s Christian base. Eventually David left his struggles of belief behind him and, based on interviews such as this, has ceased belief in God. There is a video of him performing this song live after this change occurred that is particularly haunting to watch.

It in this context that this song had a profound impact on me. After reading the lyrics and reading a little bit about David’s history, I went on from article to article trying to learn more about him.

I learned that David is a very open songwriter. This song is his best example of it. As a Christian, this struggle is hard both to put to words and to talk about with others. I respect his ability to paint the sometimes dark struggle of unbelief in both lyrics and tone.

David’s current lack of belief in God makes this song as he says in his live performance of it, an “interesting document”. It was written at a time when it appears he could have gone either way with this belief.

This article will not be a step-by-step analysis of the song or a spiritual dissertation on unbelief. I will address some of the hopelessness in the lyrics with the hope of the gospel. Reading the lyrics make me sad because his struggle led him to unbelief instead of the enjoyment and pleasure of knowing God. I would like the chance to address this sadness with light of God’s word.

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These lyrics are hard to grapple with. They aren’t a statement of beliefs that can be responded to with counter points. They are the thoughts of someone who is struggling to believe in God. Neither facts, reason or emotion can change what someone believes in. The only thing that can truly change a person’s belief is the power of gospel.

The lyrics make this plea,

Could someone please tell me the story
Of sinners ransomed from the fall

This is the gospel that 1 Corinthians 15 defines.

 

1 Corinthians 15:1-8
ESV

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

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The truth above is the only thing that can save. It is the answer to unbelief, to brokenness and to despair.

If you are reading this you are in 1 of 3 places.

Someone who doesn’t believe and is fine with it or someone who is struggling to believe.

Thanks for reading this. I think you’re here for a reason. If you have any Christian friends, I encourage you to talk to them about the verses above. If you don’t have any, feel free to drop me a line.

Someone who believes with little struggle.

I am afraid there people amongst us who are on the cusp of leaving thoughts of God and Christianity behind them. The lyrics of the song encapsulate the state of mind of many struggling Christians and non-Christians.

The challenge for us who believe is to love those around us. We need to interact with people in such a way that points them to Christ and to the gospel.

To David Bazan, I pray that his heart is changed by the power of the gospel so that he can find the peace that he mentions at the end of the song.

Peace be still

Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10

All illustrations taken from fromoldbooks.org.

Posted | 2 Comments

2 responses to Secret of the Easy Yoke

  • Mikki Volz says:

    I loved reading your blog, David. We need Christians to talk about the dark struggle of unbelief or weak faith, and to give hope and answers from the power of the Gospel. I loved the illustrations too! Keep writing about these things! 🙂

  • Peter Hogan says:

    Well written, Mr. Volz! As one who rarely struggles with cognizant disbelief, but rather with sinful choices that reflect my lack of faith, I am reminded of Paul Tripp’s sermon – that I must preach the Gospel to myself everyday. Perhaps this is where Bazan stumbled? Keep the posts coming!

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