An intriguing song from Katie Melua’s latest album is “God on the drums, the Devil on the bass” written by Katie and her original producer, Mike Batt. The song as a whole has a Phantom of the Opera feel to it. That might just be me or perhaps it’s Mike Batt’s influence, since he co-wrote both.
I don’t know what Katie and Batt meant but it seems as if they are saying that life is a dance. With God on the drums and the Devil on the bass, we have to find our space somewhere between them. As we enter the dance floor we hear the music that’s been playing for a thousand years, without beginning and without end. Nothing is wrong or right, black or white, and those who hold to those extremes are just “trying to start a fight between God on the drums and the Devil on the base.”
Parts of the Old Testament might seem to suggest that sort of constant struggle among human beings to move away from the Devil’s side of the floor to God’s side, with the Devil’s drums seeming to have more pulling power. But the birth of a baby in a Bethlehem stable paints another picture entirely.
Sydney Carter’s song, “I am the Lord of the Dance” comes to mind and I think that, as long as we are on this earth, it’s the Devil who’s playing the music. God has abandoned the drums (if ever he was on them) and has joined us on the dance floor. He is humming a different tune in our ears, calling us to dance to a different rhythm. As we learn the steps and discover its beauty we can move more freely around the dance floor, engage with others, and introduce them to this new and liberating dance.