What should we do with John Lennon? You might remember John from his days with the Beatles. You may remember his peace movement, where he and his wife Yoko Ono, vowed to stay in bed. Sadly, you may not remember him at all.
John Lennon was killed, that is certain. Shot down in the streets by a man with a gun and a mission to destroy the message. Before he died, Lennon wrote the song “Imagine”, which encouraged our thinking of the world in terms other than religion, possessions, and the threat of either heaven or hell. Also, it was the name of the album which featured the song as the title track.
Certainly, there was a mystique around the man. He was a conversation piece. At one time, he claimed (and rightfully so), that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. It drove the world insane. There were parties where Beatles records were burned, conversations in the media about religion and heresy, and adamant demands for an apology.
Most of the young people I work with do not know about John Lennon. Most of the young people I work with have some opinion or another on Jesus Christ. If it was a media war, then Jesus won. You will have to decide for yourself if it was another war.
In an effort to be transparent, I like both John Lennon and Jesus. I like a lot of things. I enjoy different schools of thought, different music, and even the occasional discourse on current events. Common threads are gleaned, differences are noted, everything and nothing inform my decisions as I make my way through life.
What I hold on to with a very tight fist, is my right not to form an opinion on everything I read, see, hear, or experience. One thing I find disheartening, is the passion that goes into positions and perceptions. There are truths that exist, but they are not exclusively mine to comprehend. Those truths are not held by one group or another, they are not found in one organization or sacred text, and they sure as sunlight are not assigned to a select group of people to propagate.
As a society, we have lost our collective minds. Rather, we have given our minds away. To our social media feeds, to our fears and worries, to media, and in some ways, to our need to be accepted by others. We offer our self worth, our livelihoods, and our responsibility, to “otherness”, in order to distract our minds. We blame our discomfort and unease with ourselves on situations, circumstance, and fate.
And here is the funniest thing of all. Both John Lennon and Jesus might just have said the same thing about that situation. Lennon might have used more curse words. Jesus might have been catering to a different crowd. But, both figures spoke of truth, finding heaven in the present moment, and the folly of believing in things outside of ourselves, to find peace.
Both figures are misunderstood. Both men have been assigned responsibility things for which they simply did not say. They are both so well known, that their intent is easily dismissed and rarely considered. While they might have been popular, their messages are somehow lost in translation.
Another, often missed similarity, is what became expected of each. People looked to them for salvation. They found hope in their words and their deeds.
They were both revolutionary for their time and they were both killed. Not what you would want to run in an advertisement for original thinking.
Please believe about Jesus what you would like. Please find comfort in the music of John Lennon if it helps. If religion floats your proverbial boat, sail away. If music is what gets you through the day, crank it up. If you find joy in simplicity, simplify. If you need a rigorous course of ritual to ease your mind, get some beads or attend a service.
What is troubling in these times, is not what we believe about religion or music, it is what we are requiring others to believe. Not for admission into our organizations, our corporations, or our sanctuaries, but into our hearts. Into the areas where we offer compassion instead of the latest dogma, doctrine, or plan of salvation. “Others” are not allowed the same graces as those we believe are the same.
It is not so much what we do with John Lennon or Jesus. It is not so much what we believe about this or that school of thought. Race, religion, political affiliation, sexuality, gender, caste, or class, should not be a consideration when we decide who to love. Love should be the pursuit. Offered to life and those in it. We should not spend time defining who it is we need to bless with our approval, but we should send love and let it land where it may.
Kindness is the goal. Compassion is the goal. Peace is the goal. Grace is the goal. Love is the goal.
They are also the path.
We cannot search and find any of these goals. We may only follow their path, and thereby become them in ways we understand anew each day.
We are all growing. Nothing we are now is what we will be in even 24 hours. Our bodies are changing, our experiences are changing, even our possibilities are changing. But, our possibilities are there. They are infinite and require only our imagination. You life is not “a miracle“, it is “the miracle“.
Though there are billions of reasons to be thankful in any given moment, we are content to complain about our coffee being cold, our coworkers’ poor attitudes, or the awkward position in which we find ourselves. Though we have never missed the next breath, we worry that it will not come. We come from Source and we are headed to Source, but we are fascinated and focused on that point when we will change forms, void of these bodies we currently believe are ours.
Give yourself permission not to have an opinion on everything. Reserve the right to suspend judgement. Believe others will survive without the knowledge of why you think celery juice is the key to life, or why the actions of our government are destroying the earth. Do what you can. Be an instrument of peace and creation. Send love ahead of every situation.
And have a good day. We are not harmed by times of rest. We are not hurt if the world does not know our troubles. Give and receive grace as freely as it has been offered. That is a whole big bunch.