I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all his worn out leather
I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay
from “Million Reasons” sung by Lady Gaga at Super Bowl LI
Leave it to Lady Gaga to pray for the healing of the nation at a Super Bowl, no less.
Artists have an immense amount of power to galvanize or polarize people. Knowing Lady Gaga’s strong support of the political left, there was some speculation and no small amount of trepidation over what she might do or say given the huge platform she was given for the halftime show of the Super Bowl at a time of great division and dissatisfaction with the current administration. Certainly not one to shy away from an opportunity to make a statement, Lady Gaga could have just as easily polarized the nation even more. Instead, she chose to bring it together.
Beginning with a blending of “God Bless America” and Woody Guthrie’s folk anthem, “This Land Is Your Land,” she reminded us we were “one nation under God” — actually pulling that one phrase out of the Pledge of Allegiance to make a point, and then the high point of a short but entertaining set was the song, “Million Reasons.”
It was a song that was prophetically made for the moment. Surely there were a million reasons for us to stay apart — a million reasons to fight, to war with each other, to take sides, to give up, to not even try — a million reasons to walk away. But she reminded us we only need one reason to stay, and the last line of the song: “You’re all I need to stay” was punctuated poignantly by walking off the stage into a crowd and hugging one woman as if to say, “With all these millions of reasons to leave, you’re all I need to stay.”
God’s grace is like this. In Exodus 20, just as Moses is getting ready to write the ten commandments, he states this about the judgment and mercy of God: “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6). For every three or four generations of punishment, God lavishes his love on a thousand generations for those who love Him. Those are pretty good odds for broken people like us.
One person to love can shut down a hundred million reasons not to. And a thousand generations of love can easily overcome three or four of punishment.