Agnus Dei: Marc Webb’s Lamb (Part 3)
Marc Webb, director of the upcoming Spiderman relaunch, The Amazing Spiderman and the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, is also a prolific music video director. He has directed music videos in a wide array of musical genres, with groups and artists such as, A.F.I., Pussycat Dolls, Weezer, Ashley Simpson and Switchfoot. In at least three of his music videos he has incorporated a signature stamp, an image of a lamb. The lamb functions not only as an identifier that Marc Webb directed the music video but acts as a symbol, which only appears at pivotal moments in the storyline in each of the three videos. In this three part series we will explore what the lamb symbolizes in each of the music videos and if there any kernels of truth that can be seen in this presentation of the lamb symbol as it relates to the true lamb, Jesus.
Convicted by the Lamb: Yellowcard’s Rough Landing, Holly
In Yellowcard’s Rough Landing, Holly there is a reappearance of the lamb briefcase in the graffiti-filled room from the Ocean Avenue music video. However, the appearance of the lamb functions in a completely different manner from the previous video. Instead of the singer seeing the lamb as the means through which transformation can occur, he views the lamb as a way to escape his problem. Yet, we will see that the lamb has other plans.
As the music video opens we see the singer falling asleep on his bed and then as soon as he closes his eyes, he is transported through a tunnel of sheets to an alternate reality. Coming out from under the sheets he discovers he is now in another bed with a woman lying next to him. However, we soon find out that the woman is married and her husband is in the room. The husband yells and chases after the singer as the singer escapes out through the bathroom window. The events that unfold in the rest of the music video all stem from this incident, with the singer continually trying to run away from the husband.
In our exploration of the music video, it is important to note the difference in engagement between the singer and the husband prior to the lamb and after the lamb. Prior to the singer’s encounter with the lamb the husband chases after him but after the lamb, the singer runs into the husband. This distinction is an important one to note and helps to explain the meaning of the lamb, which will become clearer as we will look at the specifics of the story.
After the singer is chased out of the house, he walks down the street towards a man with a martini glass, the background morphs and he now appears at a party. Walking through the crowds of people the singer nervously looks around, hoping not to encounter the husband. Feeling safe, he joins his bandmates on the stage singing the chorus, however, when he sings the last line “Let her go,” the husband reappears and chases the singer down a long hallway. Near the end of the hallway the singer decides to enter a room, which turns out to be the graffiti-filled room. In this room a woman is sitting on the bed and on the dresser is the lamb briefcase. The singer knows that he can escape with the help of the lamb, however, when he opens the briefcase he discovers that it is filled with water and questions whether or not this is the way he should go. Then looking over at the door he sees the handle shaking and because he sees no other way to escape, he crawls into the briefcase as he sings “Can’t let her go,” an indication that he is unwilling to deal with his mistake.
This is where things change as the singer is no longer being chased by the husband but now is confronted with the husband. After entering the briefcase, he finds himself underwater swimming towards a table at the bottom of the ocean floor with two men playing cards and one of the men is the husband. He swims to the surface, crawls out of a bathroom sink and then as he lies down on the floor of the bathroom he is suddenly transported to an operating table. Two men are operating on him pulling out one hundred dollar bills from his stomach and the singer visibly sings “Let her go.” As this line is sung, one of the surgeon’s removes his mask and the singer realizes that the surgeon is the husband that he has been trying to avoid. He is stricken with fear as the husband gases him to sleep.
Through a series of events the singer returns back to the party and in the end he appears in the back seat of a police car. People from the party smash through the windows of the car and attack not only him but also destroy the car. In the final scene the viewers see the husband, now a police officer, looking on with no intention of intervening and saving the singer from the mob.
What we have in this music video is a fairly accurate portrayal of what occurs after a person accepts Jesus as their savior. Prior to the lamb, the singer is trying to escape the consequences of his sin but once he finds the lamb he understands that it is only through the lamb that he can be saved from his sin. What he did not expect is that instead of escaping his sin, the lamb confronts him with his sin, hoping to provoke him to repentance. In the same way when a person accepts Jesus, the Holy Spirit convicts the person of their previous sins hoping to move them toward repentance. Jesus explained this as one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in his final meal with his disciples telling them, “And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8)
While the music video gives the viewers no indication that the singer repented of his sin, those who follow Jesus do not have to go down the same path as him. When the Holy Spirit confronts us with our sins let us move towards repentance and not “continue to sin” because for those who repent, “the One [Jesus] who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18) This is a lifelong process and it does not mean that we will no longer suffer or encounter trials but that instead of being “under the control of the evil one” we can be assured that we are now “children of God.” (1 John 5:19) Children of the lamb who saves, the lamb who transforms and the lamb who sanctifies, and all these can only occur in our life because of Jesus’ perfect righteousness, his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.