Repentance and Hope – A Review of Derek Webb’s “The Very End”

This article continues our review series on Derek Webb’s latest CD. Over the next two weeks, we will review and offer cultural analysis on ever song from the “The Ringing Bell.” Previous posts from this series can be found under the category Derek Webb.

Musically “The Very End” begins with a transition from the previous track “The End.” This transition brings attention to the radical contrast in style and content. Where the previous song sounded like conflict, the music of “The Very End” brings a sense of resolution and peace. Webb now reflects on his own failures to pursue peace and his ultimate hope in Christ.

this is my murder trial
I’m going to testify
and I’ll love you to the very end
the very end
the very end

Our frustrations at the absurdity of life (see Track #1) must drive us to examine our own hearts. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger with murder. So Webb confesses his failures to love others – his murderous heart. He names himself among the guilty. This awareness of our sin must drive us back to Christ and deepen our love for him. Even to the very end.

cross my heart, hope to die
you are my firefly
and I’ll love you to the very end
the very end
the very end

As children pledge their eternal friendship, we too must give ourselves to Christ. In the absurdity of our lives we need a simple and profound devotion to Jesus. “Firefly” can be taken in at least two way. I initially saw this as a continuation of the allusion to a childlike faith. Fireflies seem like magic. Children are drawn to their illumination. As such, we are drawn to the wonder of our God. However, a better explanation may be located in popular culture. The TV series “Firefly” featured an escape craft named Serenity Firefly. This ship delivers a diverse crew from Earth after a global civil war. This interpretation figures Christ as an escape from the contradictions of our fallen race. But neither of these are fully satisfactory explanations to Webb’s riddle.

you are the anti-curse
death going in reverse
and I’ll love you to the very end
the very end
the very end

This is the most religious phrase of the album. Jesus Christ is the final remedy to the curse of Genesis 3. The effects of the fall include prejudice, hatred and murder. Only Christ can restore our broken world. He brings not only forgiveness but also final restoration. He has the power to transform hearts and bring unity. He is our only hope for real peace. With the resurrection of Christ, death has been defeated. It now retreats before his advancing kingdom. Webb points us to a final eschatological hope in Christ – who is worthy of our love. Even until the very end.

Posted by Tony Kummer

This entry was posted in Christian Music, Derek Webb. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Repentance and Hope – A Review of Derek Webb’s “The Very End”

  1. Chris Hubbs says:

    Forgive me in advance: I’m going to interact with both The End and The Very End here since I think they are quite tied together.

    Those familiar with Derek’s personal life might have a little different take on the first two cuts from this album. Derek and his wife Sandra are expecting their first child later on this summer. It is, in fact, Junior Webb whose heartbeat is heard at the beginning of The End.

    A more personal interpretation of the lyrics might suggest that Derek is talking here about a) his crazy life and frustration with the inability to have a ‘normal’ family life and b) his great affection for his unborn child.

    I’m greatly looking forward to your analysis of the remainder of the album!

  2. Tony Kummer says:

    Thanks for sharing your comments. Your explanation makes sense. I can see how these songs could be interpreted as personal commentary on Webb’s life. Again, the lyrics are difficult.

    I still take ‘The Very End’ as a song about Christ. This may be my bias coming out. But the references to the resurrection seem to point to Jesus.

    Another reader suggested we contact Derek. That might be the best way to find out. The interviews I’ve read or heard don’t get real specific about these first two songs.

Comments are closed.