Calling All Angels
A Quick Music Discussion Guide
Main Point of Discussion: When life gets difficult, be very careful who you call on for help.
The Music Video: Calling All Angels
Before they released “Hey Soul Sister,” Train was known for its hit of 2003 entitled “Calling All Angels.” This song was included on the band's third studio album, My Private Nation, and was produced by Brendan O'Brien. The song was the first to be released from My Private Nation in 2003 and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It also spent three weeks atop the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart that same year.
Introducing the Music Video:
While passing out a copy of the song lyrics, say, “You have probably already heard Train's song entitled
“Calling all Angels.” Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the song a B+ and called it "an anthemic hymn to commitment...that builds steadily to a gloriously clanging climax.” I’d like to know what the heck an “anthemic hymn” is. Regardless, the song talks about the human condition of pain and how we choose to address it. Take a look.
The YouTube Video:
The video can be viewed online for free at http://youtu.be/TaG9SDxwPBg
I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup
When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said
I need a sign to let me know you're here
'Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me
And I'm calling all angels
I'm calling all you angels
When children have to play inside so they don't disappear
And private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don't talk for years
And football teams are kissing Queens
And losing sight of having dreams
In a world that what we want is only what we want until it's ours
I'm calling all angels
I'm calling all you angels
The author of the song is kind of skeptical with the world he’s living in…and for good reason. He goes to great length to identify many of the things that’s wrong with our civilization. I agree with just about every accusation he makes in the song. But that’s where our agreement ends, mainly because he calls on angels to help him. I wonder why he decided to do that? He'd be better off if he called upon the Lord. Let's see what the Bible has to say about the issue.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and the crime/problem that we think is the worst on Earth.
- ASK A FEW: Who do you think the singer is talking to with his first line of the song: “I need a sign to let me know you are here.” Why?
- ASK A FEW: Be honest. When you face a difficult situation, who or what do you turn to first?
- ASK A FEW: Do you believe in angels? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Why are so many people infatuated with angels?
- ASK A FEW: Do you know what the literal meaning of “angel” is? (Leaders – The word literally translates as “messenger.”)
- ASK A FEW: Does it help to “call on angels”? Why or why not?
- ASK AFEW: Do “guardian angels” exist according to Scripture? (Leaders – The Bible nowhere mentions the existence of guardian angels. True, there are angels that have aided humans in times of trouble, but there were far many more stories of God helping humans in times of need.)
Read the following passage:
Daniel 3:1-30 (NIV)
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it. 4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, "This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." 7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon-- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-- who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up." 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." 25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
ASK A FEW: How did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s troubles compare to the singer’s troubles from the song?
ASK A FEW: Who was it that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said they would rely on in verse 17?
ASK A FEW: How did Nebuchadnezzar describe the three men’s rescue in verse 25 and then in verse 28? (Leaders – Who Nebuchadnezzar actually saw that day is unknowable. At first, he likens the rescuer to the Son of God, but later credits an angel. But here’s what’s important. Even if it WAS an angel that rescued them, it was God that the three men called upon.)
ASK A FEW: What are some things God can do for us that angels cannot?
ASK A FEW: Why does God want us to call on Him instead of angels?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is one way you are going to need God this coming week?
Tonight we had the opportunity to watch a music video about a guy who found himself in trouble, but chose to call on angels instead of God. We’re never told how it turned out for him, but he never gave up calling on angels. Then we asked the question: Is calling on angels the best strategy in life?
What we’ve learned tonight is that angels are messengers. Yes, sometimes they are sent to save humans, but often times in Scripture, it’s God Himself that saves us. Just like in the story we read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men weren’t trying to summon angels; they went straight to God with their requests.
I’d suggest we do the same. God is the one who created us. He is the One who saves us. It is He who lives within us as Christians. He doesn’t want some angel – another created being – to get His glory or credit. Besides, even if we called out to angels for their help, they’d still have to ask God’s permission, because His angels always do His bidding, and nothing else.
So remember that the next time you’re in trouble. We will all face difficult times, but let’s not settle for asking a creature for help. Let’s ask the Creator!
Close in prayer.
Written by Paschoal Trentini