Leave it to Ian MacKaye to give us the unintended implicit gospel via an impromptu post hardcore punk song…incidentally recorded over Easter Weekend in 1986. At the time, he and former Minor Threat bandmate, Jeff Nelson had traveled to the UK to explore the potential for distributing Dischord records’ releases internationally. During the visit, MacKaye and Nelson (both co-owners of the Dischord label) decided to jam out in an experimental session that never progressed beyond a two-song 7-inch release. Appropriately dubbed Egg Hunt, the short-lived collaboration served as a transitional project between Embrace, MacKaye’s socially conscious counterpart to Rites of Spring and the consequent formation of Fugazi, his most legendary and critically influential band to date.

While conducting a Google search for Egg Hunt’s sole release, so I could share with a friend in an ironic nod to Easter, I made the serendipitous discovery of the lyrics to the record’s second track, “We All Fall Down.” I had never previously paid much attention to what MacKaye says on this song. I had just remembered that Egg Hunt existed as one of a handful of the post-Minor Threat bands with which I wasn’t as familiar as other Dischord releases. I was fascinated, though, by the subtle implication of our condemnation in Adam, under the law. Consider:

In search of the quiet life
We all fall down
In search of the righteous life
We all fall down

Affirmation persists of our endemic desire to find ‘the quiet life’, to find simplicity, to find solace, to find 7 steps to a better (fill in the blank), to have our best life now…to reclaim and recapture the shalom lost in the fall. And yet…the search to find life can only end in death. Jesus said as much:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it… (Mt 16:25)

And St. Paul corroborated with the following words concerning our inborn inclination to pursue the law as a means of righteousness…a tendency that manifests itself in innumerable ways in our lives:

I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

“We All Fall Down” aptly identifies our earthly pursuits for meaning, significance, and identity as a quest for righteousness. There’s no question we are all in some capacity on a pilgrimage to find ourselves, know ourselves, and ultimately save ourselves. The fortuitousness that these lyrics were penned during Easter is striking. They bear witness to Paul’s assessment of our condition in 1 Corinthians 15 where he writes, “In Adam, all die.”

We all fall down because of the First Adam’s attempt to ascend into the hidden things of God, the so called “realm above.” Our devastation is comprehensive and irreparable…the law cannot help us. The dissolution into which the song descends reflects this despair as MacKaye repetitively reminds us, “we are all falling down.” There’s no culminating hope, just an accurate diagnosis of our incurable proclivity to justify ourselves. Thank God, though, for the righteousness that comes “not by the law, but through faith”…i.e. the righteousness that comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” It is Finished.