A song by Joe South reflected my teenage disdain for those in power who seemed to not care a whit about the regular folk. I check the comments of Millenials today and I realize that not much, if anything, has changed since this song was recorded in the turbulent late 60’s.
“The Games People Play” was recorded by Joe South and here are the first two stanzas.
Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they’re covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine
I have to admit that a bit of the anger and power of the protest was diminished with this hard-hitting chorus.
La-da da da da da da da
La-da da da da da de
Talking ’bout you and me
And the games people play
Hard to gin up a lot of “in your face” intensity and passion when you are singing “la-da-da-da-da-da-da”. My frustration with the hypocrisy I saw in my church was fueled by this lyric.
People walking up to you
Singing glory hallelulia
And they’re tryin to sock it to you
In the name of the Lord
We thought we could change the world by promoting love, hope and peace. I see the same anger directed at my generation (pretty much deserved) that we felt toward my parent’s. I read how this generation is going to change things by promoting love, hope and peace. Can you say full circle?
We thought that hope would be realized with a leader or a political party. We believed that change would come because of kindred politicians or better laws or courts that would establish justice as we saw it. We thought that the right leader would make sure that we educated every child no matter their circumstance. We hoped that this political savior would provide for the needs of every person at no cost to them. We were wrong by placing that hope on the government without putting responsibility on ourselves.
So many people are placing their hope for happiness on political candidates and parties. I do believe that leaders make a difference. I care deeply about making an informed and prayerful choice. But I never place my hope or desire for change on a politician. The word hope is used about 80 times in the New Testament. The first appearance of the word in the NIV translation pretty much lays out my belief.
“In his name (Jesus) the nations will put their hope.” (Matthew 12:21, NIV)
Paul wrote about the hope that I have in his letter to the Romans.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13, NIV)
The second chorus of South’s tune has a real pearl of wisdom.
God grant me the serenity
To remember who I am
That is what I have learned since I was the frustrated and all-knowing young man hellbent on changing the establishment. I remember who I am. I am a follower of Jesus. A child of God. A servant who is humbled by His amazing grace.
I will be shocked if our leaders in Washington decide to work together for us and tone down the rhetoric. But I will not be surprised one bit if they do not. I have hope that is real. I have peace that transcends circumstance. Because of those truths I can deal with the rest of the news. I believe that no matter what happens in Washington in the coming months and years I am convinced that the following statement is true.
God is in control. And that is where my hope rests today.