"and a warning, some images may be disturbing for some viewers" Insights from the songwriter.
Sometimes the newsreader gives us a few seconds to make a decision to keep watching or change the channel in case we tend to be negatively affected. This never used to happen when I was growing up and it's a small sign that we have made progress to respect the human dignity of the people watching.
Some stories are so powerful that they can't help but effect us. I wonder whether most of us keep watching despite the warning because something calls us to be brave or curious or both. Perhaps deep down we just care and there's the potential we could do something to help. We tell ourselves we can handle it because we want to know what's going on.
Such an emotional and compelling song like Rescue Me can hit the listener fairy strongly and that was the intent in writing it. Here are some insights behind the writing of this song.
"Rescue Me" is a song about children around the world who are suffering through forced labour or slavery, fleeing as refugees from war, or oppressed by poverty. They cannot tell us with their own voice what's going on. It's a cry for help by the voiceless. The 'Rescue' is a call to understand that feeling we have when we know we are in too deep and need to ask for help to be pulled out of trouble. The 'Me' refers to the one in all of us - the Christ being present within every human being. It's not a sign of weakness nor an attempt to disempower because those who work to alleviate this suffering, (for eg charities and community orgs), work in order to empower those who at first, cannot do it alone. The idea that children are forced to work, be slaves or held against their will for fleeing a country of war is super uncomfortable for most of us. But we all connected. Sometimes the problem seems too big and we might argue over how to handle it. The only way not to fall into helplessness in our response, is to do what Jesus did. "Sit with me, speak to me." Encounter. If we are brave enough to watch the footage we are brave enough to go into the places and spaces that are uncomfortable. "In the trading, in the misery." Why would we? Why should we? Well, if "every child is special", made in God's image, then there is no justice for us if there is none for them.
These real life experiences paint the picture of millions of children around the world. "Shaken awake before the birds..." "Boy forced from home in the dead of night," The horrible reality that these children are forced awake to work in dirty, dangerous conditions and taken from their families to become child soldiers is not a world we want. The almost haunting melody asks those in power and politics to wake up and take notice. There's a scripture passage that talks about our actions towards those considered to be the 'least' in our society and it refers to us acting in these ways towards God. "You do it to me." Or, The Golden Rule - treat those how you would like to be treated is golden because it reverses the roles and helps us develop valuable empathy. "Empty school chairs at harvest time" shows the grim necessity for so many that they must forgo education for food. Ironically, education is the very thing that will assist them in moving out of a 'hand to mouth' existence.
"We love to sing out, we love to run free, can someone make them see?" If communities band together and organisations can listen to their stories our, (one voice amongst many,) can make a difference when we share the story. Ignorance or cultural acceptance of this treatment are some of the issues we need to face. We can sit down with those we disagree with and share the stories of these children to change hearts, then minds. Then others may not perpetuate such things into the future. Our call as decent human beings and people of faith ask us to empathise and then look at ways we can empower those in situations like these. It's good for all of us as we recognise the truth in our interconnectedness.