I love Van Halen. And like all intelligent people in the universe, I think David Lee Roth, their original (and again) singer is the real deal, while Sammy Hagar was, at best, an approximation. However…

Hagar and Van Halen recorded a song (from the 1986 album 5150) called “Love Walks In” that is pure Gospel, water in a land that is waste. Here’s a video of a live performance:

Why is this song so awesome? Check out the chorus:

…and then you sense a change,
nothin’ feels the same,
all your dreams are strange–
love comes walkin’ in.
some kind of alien
waits for the opening,
simply pulls a string–
love comes walkin’ in.

I mean, come on! Why don’t you just have an altar call, Sammy?

This chorus describes a conversion. The work of the Holy Spirit. Getting saved. Whatever you want to call it, Hagar describes how God turns you upside down, creates an opening, and then “love comes walkin’ in.” That is, God comes to you, in the person of Jesus, from outside yourself.

I can hear you asking: “Aaron, why else is this song so awesome?” Well, I’ll tell you. Hagar quotes Luther. According to Luther, God’s work is alien. As Hagar sang, “some kind of alien.” Luther talked about the opus alienum, Latin for the “alien work” of God. (Luther, by the way, was taking his cue from Isaiah 28:21: “For the LORD will rise up as on Mount Perazim, he will be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; to do his deed–strange is his deed! and to work his work–alien is his work!”) What Luther meant is that through God’s strange crushing and killing work, shown clearly in the Law and our failure to fulfill it, God brings us to a place where we trust in Christ alone, finding our justification, our identity, in only Jesus and nothing we bring to the table.

So join me in thanking God for Sammy Hagar, his red pants, and this awesome song.

PS–this song is also awesome because the Van Halens are Dutch, and Alex Van Halen’s drum kit looks like an alien spaceship.

PPS–Note that Sammy plays the gratuitous guitar solo, required in all 1980s rock, while Eddie plays keyboards and watches.