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Sneaky Jesus song: Watching the Wheels

Brendan Nicholls  |  30 August 2018

John Lennon - wall graffiti - deposit photosArtist: John Lennon (b. 9/10/40 - d. 8/12/80)
Song: Watching the Wheels (March 1981)

Watching the Wheels was released posthumously and reached #10 in America and #45 in Australia. Although not the most popular of John Lennon’s songs it is well constructed and lyrically superb.

The song was written as a response to the criticism Lennon was subjected to after stepping back from the music industry to focus on his family, in particular his son Sean. It was however released after his murder and serves as a testament to his son who from a young age grew up without his father.

The lyrics are not just simply a response to the criticism of the industry and the insatiable desires of the public. The song conveys great wisdom and insight. Much like King Solomon, John Lennon had lived a life of extremes. His wealth, influence and due to his (and the Beatles) popularity he experienced everything that life could offer. Like Solomon he came to understand that life and all that it offers is superficial and cannot fulfil our needs. Wealth, fame, possessions, hedonism and sensual experiences are transient and shallow.

Throughout his life he was a very spiritual person who believed deeply in the transcendent and the importance of love. He rejected organised religion, but ironically lived a life that is allegorical of the Bible. He was a radical and used his influence to challenge the status quo and proclaimed a message of love, for which global leaders condemned him. Although he rejected religion he certainly lived the message of the Gospel and was a prophet.

The lyrics of the song offer a beautiful insight into the meaning of life and contentedness. After all that fame and fortune had offered him he came to understand that peace can only be achieved through being still, “watching shadows on the wall”. As you listen to this wonderful tribute to the life and wisdom of a truly great person be still also and consider the message that resonates so well with the way we try to live our lives as disciples of Jesus.

We pray for all artists who help us find God in the wonder of their art. We pray especially for the soul of John Lennon, who we pray rests peacefully with the Creator. May he see the face of Christ and experience the peace and love he tried to offer thorough his life and musical legacy. We pray also for those who were left to mourn his death, especially his wife and son, may they be consoled and experience the consolation of John’s spiritual presence each day.



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