An anthem from my youth came on the radio today. The Youngbloods recorded “Get Together” in 1967 and it became one of the quintessential peace songs of the era.
I remember listening to a staticky AM transistor radio while singing along with The Youngbloods. I was sure that my generation could make a difference. We would fix the mess that my parents and grandparents had made. We believed peace was possible. We just had to get together. This would be easy enough. Just love one another. Everybody sing now…
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 our 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 you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. (Matthew 5:46-47, NLT)
As an idealistic teen I believed that more education, communication, and edification would change the world. I believed that the problem was not sin. The problem was a lack of knowledge. I was wrong. The problem is sin. Education and communication certainly 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.
- “But the time is coming–in fact, it is already here–when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16, NLT)
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would comfort us in times of trouble and that the peace the world advocates would fall short.
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14, 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.
It is not in my trying that we can get together. It is by trusting God and allowing Him to love me. When I understand how much I am loved then I can love others. Only then can we truly love one another and maybe, just maybe, we can get together and share that love.