Just recently my father and I spent the day doing some work at my church. He was willing to help on one condition; he wanted to choose the music we listened to while working.
I didn’t mind because the music my dad prefers is very similar to the music I enjoy. Blaring through the loud speaker was his regular playlist of classic oldies from the 1960s. I know the words to almost all of those songs because it was all I heard growing up.
Compared to music today, the lyrics are incredibly positive. Most of them are about the desire for peace and love and for people to come together as one. There was a voice of optimism in the music of that era, which seems strange since we know it was also a time of great civil unrest.
War was everywhere, and everybody had to pick a side. Politics was also an atmosphere of vicious rhetoric. The country was divided but music was a voice of hope.
I told my dad that I wouldn’t be surprised if we would soon experience the 1960s part two. Once again, we are living in a time of great division and civil unrest. Politics has divided the country, and the levels of tension and anger are extremely high. But anger is not a sustainable emotion. Hatred always leads to destruction either of yourself or those around you.
As divided as everything seems, the world is actually getting better. Statistically speaking, there is less war than we have ever seen. Poverty and famine are at the lowest levels in recorded history. Literacy and the rights of woman and children have increased all over the world. People now live longer and healthier lives than ever before. In spite of all the facts, only 6 percent of Americans think the world is actually getting better. But as Christians, we should have an optimistic outlook on the future.
Jesus said that His Kingdom would be like a little bit of yeast the spread throughout the flour. This yeast changed the flour entirely, and the Kingdom of God is changing things. All authority has been given to God, and He is at work. Christianity continues to grow around the world and is by far the largest freely chosen religion in the world.
In the same way that music was a voice of hope during the Vietnam era, may we be the voice of hope and peace during these contentious times. Instead of joining in with the rantings of an angry world, remember what Jesus said in the gospel of John. “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.”