LENT DEVOTIONAL 2015 – 40 DAYS OF CLASSIC ROCK – #8 – “Baba O’Riley” – The Who
by Pastor Kyle Durbin, Centenary UMC
I can remember when I was younger, searching diligently to find a copy of the song, “Teenage Wasteland,” by The Who. Of course, that was a pointless endeavor, because despite common sense telling us that songs are typically named after the hook in the refrain, and despite the tv show CSI: NY catapulting the already iconic song into a whole new level of fame, along with a brand new audience, The Who named possibly their most acclaimed song after the musical and philosophical inspirations for the lyrics, Meher Baba and Terry Riley, hence the name, “Baba O’Riley.”
The song kicks in with one of the most memorable guitar intros in rock and roll history, complete with delay effects and a nice, slow build. Written by Pete Townshend, Roger Daltry does most of the singing for the anthem. In all honesty, it’s hard to make perfect sense of the meaning to “Baba O’Riley,” with lyrics, originally written as an intro to a conceptual rock opera that was to be the sequel to “Tommy,” that can seem disjointed at times. Still, there is truth to be found in lyrics such as, “I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right.” In fact, Jesus went so far as to say, “But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.” There is no place for violence of any kind in the Kingdom of Heaven, after all, violence has only ever left things looking like a “teenage wasteland.”
Patient Lord, give us clear heads and calm hearts to respond to those who try to hurt us, emotionally, physically, or mentally, with the love that is only possible through realizing the grace you have already offered us. Amen.