Sunday, May 25, 2014

Left me feeling confused

I am, of course, a dedicated and lifelong Beatle fan. As a discerning Beatlemaniac, I long ago came to the conclusion that the group was really two outstandingly talented men -- Lennon and McCartney -- and two very lucky ones. While Sir Paul has always resonated with me, I don't skimp on my appreciation of John.

Yet this morning at church, I was disturbed when one of our choir soloists opened the service by singing John's signature anthem:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

It's Memorial Day weekend! How can anyone sing, "imagine there's no countries" on one of the most patriotic days of the year? How can anyone sing, "imagine there's no heaven" inside a house of worship? I was very uncomfortable hearing this song under these circumstances. The intensity of my feelings made me even more uncomfortable.

Then my minister took over and it all made sense. He reminded us that Memorial Day is about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who died so that others may live. Perhaps the best way to honor their sacrifice is to work for peace, to ensure that fewer soldiers die on the battlefield, that fewer civilians are collateral damage, in the future. And that, he says, takes commitment and imagination. Hence, the song choice.

He also tweaked us. The U.S. volunteer military is made up, by and large, of people who don't look like our congregation. Few of the families at my church have "skin in the game." The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq haven't touched us personally. Therefore it might be easy to allow ourselves not to think about, not to feel for, the challenges our troops and their families face.

My minister was telling us that we owe our military men and women -- past, present and future -- something. That's what he was saying. And he used John to make us stop and pay attention.

1 comment:

  1. Your pastor is a pretty smart cookie. ;-) Glad he tied it all together clearly.


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