The Key To Love And Fear

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A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. ~ John 13:34

Love is but a song to sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Make the angels cry, indeed. What in the world is happening to us? To our country? This blog’s intent is not to get political, but to rejoice in the goodness and richness of God’s talent coming from man in the form of music. But as with so many other things, I don’t hear this kind of music coming out today.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

I recently asked my daughter (who just graduated from college and is home for the summer) to sit down with me to watch the Tom Hanks produced mini-series, The Sixties, on Netflix.  As someone who lived through it as a boy, I wanted to share with her my own first-hand experiences and memories of those turbulent years. I wanted her to see how things radically changed during that decade and to gain a greater understanding and perspective on our society.

Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

I explained to her that there was a culture and way life in America post WWI and II that lasted for several decades. The country prospered, the middle class grew and there was a general feeling of harmony among us. But there were real issues and problems that rippled just under the surface. Wrongs that needed righting; changes that long needed to come. The peace and harmony on the surface was just a mask for the ugliness of man beneath. And the 60’s was a dividing line. It’s when it all broke loose and the change, as Sam Cooke sang, was finally gonna come. And along with those changes, some beautiful people would come and some would definitely go. Forever.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

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And the artists and songs of the time reflected those changes. Artists like Neil Young, Jackie DeShannon, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan…the list is endless, they all used the power of the music in their hearts to make people see what was right in front of their faces, all along. Good and bad, right and wrong. Yes, there was life in America before the 60’s and there was life after them, but our hearts and minds had been touched and changed forever.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

And when I look at all of the events going on today, not only in our country, but around the world, I can’t help but think of the 60’s, some fifty years gone now, that perhaps we are living in similar times. Once again, we are faced with the harsh realities of where our society is and where we need to go.  Great changes still need to be made. I only wish there were artists out there, in great numbers, as there were back then, to speak loudly and strongly with an appeal to our country’s moral conscience.

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

The Youngbloods, fronted by the gifted folk singer, Jesse Colin Young, were nowhere near as famous as some of the artists leading us down the road to social change back then, but this song has always been one of my favorites from that time. It was their only hit (truly one hit wonders), but it took a while to catch on. Originally released in 1967, it never really got traction on radio.  But two years later, after the National Council of Christians and Jews began using it in as the theme song for their nationally promoted TV and radio ads, the song began to take off, cracking the Top 5 on the charts and eventually selling over a million copies and earning a gold record.

TheYoungbloods

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now
Right now

In the wake of the tragedies of the last few days, one can only wonder where we are heading and what the future holds. I wonder, as Rodney King once asked, “Can’t we all just get along?”.  When Jesus was asked what were the greatest of all God’s commandments, he said that we were to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. ALL lives matter. Come on people now, please. It’s way past time. Let’s try to love one another.

Right now.

Listen to the Jesse and the Youngbloods beautiful sound and message here:

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