Welcome to the iPod devotional series. Here is how it works. I will be writing a blog each week about one of the 1,700 plus songs on my iPod. My music goes from Al Green to the Youngbloods. Beatles to U2. Old hymns to modern praise music. Pop music to rock and roll. Toby Keith to Frank Sinatra. Oldies to the soundtrack from Monty Python's Spamalot. This could be interesting.
"Get Together" was a minor hit for The Youngbloods in 1967 . The song had a major breakthrough after the National Council of Christians and Jews used the tune for radio commercials to promote unity. In 1969 the song became one of the quintessential peace songs of my generation.
I remember listening to a staticky AM transister radio while singing along with The Youngbloods. I was convinced that my generation would make a difference. We would fix the mess that my parents and grandparents had made. We believed peace was possible. All we had to do was just get together. This would be easy. Just love one another. Everybody sing now…
Love is but the song we sing,
And fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why
C'mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev'rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Nice words. The problem was contained in the last line of lyric above. "Try" and love one another right now. How is that working out for my peace loving generation? Not so well. It is far easier to sing about loving one another than it is to actually love another. No matter how much I "try" I seem to fail miserably when I determine that I will, in my own strength, love others. It is easy to love some people. But loving the unlovable is the challenge. On that count we have not done so well. Jesus pointed out my hypocrisy on that count.
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. (Matthew 5, The Message)
As an idealistic teen I believed that more education, communication and affirmation would change the world. I believed that the problem was not sin. The problem was a lack of knowledge and understanding each other. I was wrong. The problem is sin. Education and communication certainly can help. But real change comes from the inside out. And for me that came from the most amazing revolutionary in history, Jesus Christ. How we have marginalized the powerful teachings of Jesus. He bluntly said that peace was not going to be found in this life.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16, NLT)
I watch the news and my heart aches. I wish we could have peace on earth but I have come to believe that is not possible through human institutions. I truly wish it were possible.
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
I believe there is one key to love and fear. But we do not hold the key. We do, however, have the opportunity to respond to the One who holds the key to love and fear. His name is Jesus. Years ago I asked Him to unlock my heart and enter in. I began changing at that moment. And with each passing year I get a little better at learning how to live these lyrics.