LENT DEVOTIONAL 2015 – 40 DAYS OF CLASSIC ROCK – #1 – “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
by Pastor Kyle Durbin, Centenary UMC
Ever since high-school, when I first started getting into punk music, and all the other kids starting bands were offering less than eloquent dissertations as to why classic rock was the superior music form, I have always had a problem with Led Zeppelin. Nothing against them musically, but it’s just the way it is. Nevertheless, the impact that, “Stairway to Heaven,” had on classic rock and continues to have on American rock and roll is absolutely undeniable, so it earns the number one spot in our “40 Days Of Classic Rock” Lenten Devotional Countdown.
Released in 1971, “Stairway To Heaven,” was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Paige and recorded for the band’s fourth studio album. The title of the song has always reminded me of Genesis 28:12, where Jacob, while on the run from his brother Esau, “dreamed and saw a raised staircase, its foundation on earth and its top touching the sky, and God’s messengers were ascending and descending on it.” This “stairway to heaven,” was a sign that God was with Jacob, even when he didn’t notice it, and that God would stay with Jacob no matter what he went through in life. The same is true for us. However, the final line of the song, “and she’s buying a stairway to heaven,” makes the relation to scripture more immediate. See, it is not possible to purchase a ticket to heaven. It is not possible to earn our salvation at all. This is why Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.” From his suffering, to his death on a cross, to his resurrection, the salvation offered by the grace of Jesus always was and always will be completely by Christ’s own initiative. The good news of Jesus Christ is that his grace is free and that his salvation is always available.
God of Heaven and Earth, we spend our lives trying to follow your will and to abide by your commandments, in order that we might earn your favor. Give us the patient understanding that the work of salvation was already completed by Christ on that first Easter morning. Give us the determination to live a life that honors you in response to that assurance. Amen.