Driving home from Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon—after one more year of “going up to Jerusalem” for the annual Jubilee and its thesis that “everything matters” –I was listening to “The Best of Bob Dylan” as I made my way from Pennsylvania to Maryland to Virginia. He is a genius.
And so I heard again the words of my life, from “Blowin’ in the Wind” to “The Times They Are a Changin’” to “Mr. Tambourine Man”…. and on and on over the years. Lyrics and images that have echoed through my consciousness for all of my life were my companions as I drove into the night, finally onto the Beltway of Washington with snowflakes falling on the highway.
Finally he came to “Gotta Serve Somebody,” and I found myself thinking of my work with The Washington Institute, always pressing one more time into the integral relationship of faith to vocation to culture, always arguing one more time that vocation is integral, not incidental, to the missio Dei.
Dylan got that, poetically and profoundly—and of course I wish a simply conversation was possible, as I would love to hear him reflect again on this insight, one of the truest truths of the universe as it is.
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.
Might be a rock’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
Might have money and drugs at your commands, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief.
You may be a state trooper, you might be an young turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name.
You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord you might even own banks.
You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be working in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir.
You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.