and fall short
of the glory of God
Paul of Tarsus, Romans 3:23 (NIV)
|Jagger at Winterland Palace,|
San Francisco, June 1972
Mick Jagger has gained some amount of respectability through the years actually receiving knighhood from the British throne a little over ten years ago.
As a part of the Stones, Jagger played to the bad-boy image in the late sixties and early seventies with songs that seemed to indicate a fascination with the occult.
The most notable of these was "Sympathy for the Devil", the opening track on the 1968 album, Beggar's Banquet. The song is sung in the perspective of the devil as we hear him speak about being present at some of the awful parts of history such as the crucifixion of Jesus up to World Wars I and II. They even reference the death of the Kennedy's as the song was written during the news of the death of Bobby Kennedy.
During the song, we continue to hear, "Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name."
Towards the end of the song we find the identity revealed:
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
Cause I'm in need of some restraint
Jagger later spoke about singing this song as acting a part indicating that he didn't profess any kind of supernatural meaning to it. Instead it speaks more to the idea of the apostle Paul's referenced in Romans above that all people have sinned.
This is an important lesson for Christians who get too full of themselves to remember and is a lesson that Jesus emphasized to the Pharisees as they saw themselves as closer to God's favor than anyone else.
However, the danger we may see in a song like this is the acceptance of evil because "everybody does it." There can be a fatalism that all people have a dark side and so we simply accept it for what it is. This is allowing ourselves to reach a lowest common denominator.
Rather than this, when I hear the song on the radio, I'm reminded that I too have a dark side that shouldn't be indulged.
Photo by Larry Rogers [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons