The Finish Line

[Image: 'Squint' Front Cover]



Once upon an average morn
An average boy was born
For the second time

Prone upon the altar there
He whispered up the prayer
He'd kept hid inside

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These will vie to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel"

And I saw you, upright and proud
And I saw you wave to the crowd
And I saw you laughing out loud
At the Philistines

And I saw you brush away rocks
And I saw you pull up your socks
And I saw you out of the blocks
For the finish line

Darkness falls, the devil stirs
And as your vision blurs
You start stumbling

The heart is weak, the will is gone
And every strong conviction
Comes tumbling down

Malice rains, the acid guile
Is sucking at your shoes
While the mud is fresh

It floods the trail, it bleeds you dry
As every little god
Buys its pound of flesh

And I saw you licking your wounds
And I saw you weave your cocoons
And I saw you changing your tunes
For the party line

And I saw you welsh on old debts
I saw you and your comrades bum cigarettes
And you hemmed and you hawed and you hedged all your bets
Waiting for a sign

Let's wash our hands
As we throw little fits
Let's all wash our hands
As we curse hypocrites

We're locked in the washroom
Turning old tricks
Deaf and joyless
And full of it

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods
On a gilded wheel

"These have tried to take your place,
But Father, by your grace
I will never kneel
I will never kneel"

Off in the distance, bloodied but wise
As you squint with the light
Of the truth in your eyes

And I saw you, both hands were raised
And I saw your lips move in praise
And I saw you steady your gaze
For the finish line

Every idol like dust
A word scattered them all
And I rose to my feet
When you scaled the last wall

And I gasped
When I saw you fall
In his arms
At the finish line

Recorded Appearances



About The Song

From Squintlets, "The Lament..." promotional Squint CD, 1993:

The Finish Line is one of the only songs I've written that really effects me emotionally still even when I hear it. I just think, "I got it right on that song." It's just the story of someone who runs the race, and it's not like a steady uphill victory climb, it's not doing a victory march into Heaven or something like that, it's run with blood and sweat and perseverance. The title for the album "Squint" actually came from a line in The Finish Line--"Off in the distance bloodied but wise / as you squint with the light of the truth in your eyes"--we don't necessarily see the finish line real clearly in front of us; we have to sort of squint to see it--we're pretty sure it's there. It's not easy running this race.

From Steve Taylor Bio / Squint Press Release, September 1993:

The Finish Line, [...] it may be the closest I've come in a song to writing something that really moves me on a gut level. I wrote it hoping it might help out some friends, but it's got a fair amount of my own sweat and blood mixed in.

From The Flying Chicken, The Monkey Temple, The Cotton Castle, Campus Life, March 1994:

A profound musical statement on what it means to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith."

From Creation '94 Press Conference, Andrew D. Taylor, June 29th(?), 1994:

There were things in it that were personal. I suppose more than anything it was just written seeing a number of friends that were just going through the thick of it, going through the mud, and writing a song that would help them to keep pressing on.

It's a song that--people get into it, and people that are sort of in that spot, it seems to hit them well, so yeah, I like the way that one turned out.

From Steve Taylor Interview, Rock Of Life Magazine, Q1 1995(?):

ROL: What is your favorite song from Squint and why?

ST: That would be "Finish Line" because it has such a powerful message. I wrote it for some friends of mine who were Christians for a really long time but were starting to lose tough with their Christianity. I wrote the song mostly for them. Since then, they have come back and have become better Christians.

From Steve Taylor Breaks New Ground As Christian Musician, National Public Radio All Things Considered, March 9th, 1995:

Linda Wertheimer: The finish line has, I must say, a kind of surprising lyric. It's about the resurrection.

Steve Taylor: That's right. Actually, I wrote it for some friends of mine that had been Christians for a while and they were just starting to lose their way, just getting off track, you know, and this is a song saying that, you know, to press on, God's waiting there at the end of it all.

LW: I have to ask you this--I mean, this is a lyric that is a little tough to take, I would think, if you're--you know, if you're used to sort of the majesty of the Easter pageants--"I saw you brush away the rocks, I saw you pull up your socks, I saw you out of the blocks for the finish line."

ST: Yeah, it's just sort of the imagery of, you know, being in a race. I think the Apostle Paul actually used that same imagery, of running the good race, and I think a lot of times, unfortunately, our paradigm for Christian music has more to do with maybe, I don't know, singers from 20 to 30 years ago instead of, you know, going back to the Biblical ways of communicating.

From Steve Taylor Interview, Listen In, August 2005:

"The Finish Line" is a song that I like a lot. Usually I pick these songs apart and wish I'd done things differently, but that one I still really like a lot. I'd written it after the band I was in, Chagall Guevara, broke up. There's a fair amount of personal stuff in there, but it was just telling this story of someone who takes the journey and makes it to the finish line. I like that one, but it probably suffers from over-explanation.