I know this piece of human interest news (see the video link below) lapsed out of the public consciousness over a year ago, but I was just thinking about it today as my daughter's kindergarten year comes to a close. This song, which I initially deplored, has grown on me ever since it was chosen as the theme song for the year in the elementary school my daughter attends. For better or worse, this song is seared into my memory alongside the conflicting feelings we had as we wandered the halls of the school during that first Open House evening. They played it again during the night of kindergarten orientation (which is really a kindergarten parent orientation). I generally have an aversion to all things cliché, but Perry's "Firework" jived nicely with their goal to "Illuminate the Possibilities." It doesn't hurt that we have nothing but positive things to say about this first year. So, congratulations, Katy Perry.
As I reflected this evening on this song and my recollection of this footage from a benefit concert for children with autism, my mind drifted to the following verses of Scripture:
"[Jesus said] 'I have said these things to you while I am with you, but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all I have said to you.'" John 14:25-26
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs to deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
In so many ways I am still a kindergartner in my journey of faith. Perhaps we are all a bit autistic when it comes to prayer, the most elemental of spiritual practices. Stuck in our minds--always trapped in ourselves to some degree--so often we lack the speech to communicate our deepest needs. How does the song go? What do we mean to say? Nevertheless we are unique and beautiful and valued, and God knows it. When it comes even to prayer, we are not orphaned. The Father sends us the Spirit who gives us even the words we can speak back to him. What grace! Even in our proudest moments when we think we are at our most eloquent, his Advocate stands patiently by the piano with his microphone. We are not alone, and he knows what we're trying to say. What's more, he's ready to join in our song, ready to coax the words and the melody out of us, ready to sustain us when the speech falters...yes, to illuminate the possibilities of our faith.