Monday, December 6, 2010

We Will Outsing the Enemy

In the Lord of the Rings mythopoeia, Eru is the great divine being (God) who created the world through song. Before time began, he instructed the Ainur (angels) to sing a song together that would glorify him. But one of the Ainur named Melkor decided to sing his own tune, discordant to the one glorifying of Eru. Melkor was forbidden by Eru to sing his own song, but he has been trying to ever since. The enlightened beings of Middle Earth, then, look forward to the day when all is set to right once again and all beings sing Eru's song in harmony.

In our world, what is thought the right song is Melkor's prideful number. It is an act of holy subversion, then, to sing the song of Light into the pervasive darkness.

Not to mix my cultural touchstones here, but this clip, probably my favorite scene in my favorite movie, is a stirring illustration to me of what holy subversion is like. The occupier Nazis' Melkor-song is overcome by the oppressed Frenchmen's "La Marseillaise."

Stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
Rescue me and deliver me
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

-- Psalm 144:7-11

Let us outsing the enemy. Our song is truer and better.


Karen, Nana said...

I watched this yesterday and this scene always gives me goose bumps.

nhe said...

Jared - I have never watched Casablanca. This is a wonderful scene.

When I think of great musical scenes in movies that happen against the backdrop of war, I think of my favorite movie - "Glory" - when the 54th of Massachusetts has an impromptu praise and worship service the night before losing over half their number in the assault on Ft. Wagner in the US Civil War.

Both scenes are truly beautiful....I need to see Casablanca.

Pete Scribner said...

Jared -

As usual, a good point, well-made. And your appreciation for this scene from the finest movie Hollywood has ever produced only enhances my appreciation for you!

cjbooth85 said...

Oh man I needed that. You just made my day.

Larry said...

I love this. It's making its way into my Christmas Eve sermon.

Matt Brown said...

One of the best scenes in all of cinematic history.