We built this city

imageStarship (née Jefferson Starship née Jefferson Airplane) recorded the song “We built this city” in 1985. It’s a bit controversial because a band with a history of musical political activism released a song that was received as quintessential “pop rock”. The original lyrics are actually an indictment of “the corporation” and its insensitivity to the artist and live music, but it was produced to be a radio hit. And it worked! Oh the irony.

The dissection of the lyrics on the Internet is mesmerizing. I found a blog post on the line “Marconi plays the mamba” with comments that span from 2007 to 2015! Amazing.

I am only interested in the title phrase from the chorus, however.

Don’t you remember
We built this city we built this city on rock an’ roll

This calls to mind Isaiah 22 from the Bible. It’s also about a city, defending that city, and remembering who built it.

10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
11 You built a reservoir between the two walls
for the water of the Old Pool,
but you did not look to the One who made it,
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

In this prophecy, Jerusalem is about to be attacked because the Israelites have turned their backs on God. They mistakenly believe that their hope is only in their own strength and efforts. They take steps to defend their city, but they do not seek God. They do not look first to the God who brought them out of Egypt, delivered them to Canaan, and established them in this city. Through Isaiah, God calls them back to him.

I have found myself in the same position, many times. Under attack. Relying on my own strength. Desperate for help.

Similar to Starship, have you ever gotten the feeling that life is changing too fast? That it’s slipping away from you or, even worse, accelerating away from you? Are you also being attacked and don’t know how to defend your “city”, your life? I have good news. God is calling you to return to him as well. He offers you a safe refuge.

God built his eternal city on the shoulders of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God made man. He was born from a virgin, lived a life without sin, died in our place to pay our sin debt, and rose again. He is the risen Christ and your belief in him is the key to new life, the eternal city. Check out John 3:16.

If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your savior, do it now. He offers you a city built on a foundation that is much more solid than rock and roll, even the 80s version.

Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.



About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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