There's a lot of things that can kill a man
There's a lot of ways to die
Yes and some already dead who walk beside you
There's a lot of things I don't understand
Why so many people lie
Well it's the hurt you hide that fuels the fires inside you
The entire song is about regret, specifically the regret that results from not having leaped at a chance at real love - for whatever reasons - and now living in the shadow of that lost chance, being reminded all the time of what could have been ("If through my cracked and dusty dimestore lips/I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me/Lay your blouse across the chair/Let fall the flowers from your hair/And kiss me with that country mouth so plain/Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves/To me it sounds like they're applauding us/The quiet love we make").
Life without love is not really life. We Christians affirm that real love - not the stupid and beaten-down discussions about the differences between the ancient Greek words for love, but the reality of human bonding that exist in so many different forms in our world - comes from God. Sex can be explained away as part of our simply being human beings with the urge to procreate. But love? More than chemistry. More than habit. It's strange and has no explanation. Whether the love of a parent for a child, the love of a friend for another friend, or two people who share so much of themselves they become one in their twoness. It makes no sense.
Yet it is so real, we can die without it. Our lives can become empty. If the Holy Spirit is life - as we Christians affirm - then this Life is nothing more or less than the quickening power of Divine Love. Each moment we are held up by a love so powerful it defies human understanding, the love that accompanied those words, "Let there be . . ."
When I hear fundies chatter about "hell", I wonder if they really have any idea that hell exists in a form with which all of us have some familiarity - the loss of love. It isn't sitting around in hot coals being poked by characters out of a Science Fiction movie. It's the utter and complete lack of love. That is at the heart of the cry of abandonment from the cross - the sudden realization that where there was once love, now there is . . . nothingness.
If being a Christian means anything at all, it means we have to live as if we know this love is a very real thing. We have to show this love to the whole world. We have to offer to a world that lives with this nothingness at its heart something to fill that void, that vacuum. In big and small ways, that is Christian mission and ministry. It isn't answering questions, or getting our words and phrases right. It's about loving the world, without having to offern any explanation as to what that love is, or even why it should be done. Without love, there is no life, so what choice do we have?