LENT DEVOTIONAL 2015 – 40 DAYS OF CLASSIC ROCK – #4 – “Paint It Black” – The Rolling Stones
by Pastor Kyle Durbin, Centenary UMC
“Paint It Black” was a single written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger for The Rolling Stone’s fourth album, “Aftermath,” and quickly claimed number one status. The song, which included Bill Wyman using his fists on the pedals of an organ for percussion, and Brian Jones playing sitar, was originally intended to be nothing more than a comedy track.
While Jagger has stated that the song was originally about a girl’s funeral, the lyrics are certainly open to interpretation.
The song begins, and then repeats, “I see a red door and I want it painted black,” a hopeless, cynical refrain caused by experiencing certain tragedies in life. In the book of Exodus, God commands the Israelites to paint their doors red with the blood of a lamb. The reason being that the Egyptians had enslaved God’s people, and despite almost ten plagues, including the Lord literally painting all of Egypt black by covering the land in darkness, the Pharaoh would not let the Hebrew people go. Therefore, the final plague was the angel of death visiting the country, but the Israelites, by painting their doorposts, would be saved. This event from Exodus 12 became known as the first Passover, and was followed by Moses successfully leading the people out of slavery and bondage. Exodus begins, after explaining the poor condition of the Israelites, with Exodus 3: 23-24, “They cried out, and their cry to be rescued from the hard work rose up to God. God heard their cry of grief, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham…” When we feel hopeless, when we feel like the world should be “painted black,” we must remember that we have a God who hears our cries, will answer our call, and will deliver us from our afflictions.
Holy Liberating Deliverer, when we survey the world around us, it is easy to become pessimistic and disillusioned. When darkness seems to cover us, remind us that your anger will always pass us over, and that only your love will remain, a love that sends mercy, healing, and hope. Amen.