Old Tunes

21 Aug

 

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By L. Stewart Marsden

It’s Sunday, and raining once more in the mountains. I was working on “Girl from Ipanema” on a baritone ukulele, the instrument I leaned how to play before the guitar. It suits the song.

Then I began to mess around with chords, and struck on an old tune I used to sing years ago. It’s in A Minor.

We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord …

A very simple Jesus Freak song many of us sang — around a campfire with hands locked; at some churches.

Many of you are familiar with it. Now an old, vanishing tune and lyric, and probably rarely sung — certainly not in the highly polished Christian services of today. But then, we weren’t highly polished in our theology back then.

Smile! God loves you! was the mantra of the day.

“Good News for Modern Man” was the well-worn pocket New Testament translation then (even though the Baptists didn’t seem to like it because references of blood were not in it).

We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord …

No theology of politics. You weren’t more Christian if you were Republican or Democrat. Male or female. Black or white. American or Hispanic. Northerner or Southerner. Rich or poor. Well-educated or not. Spoke in tongues or — well, maybe you were.

And we pray that all unity
May one day be restored …

Like I said, it’s an OLD song with an OLD message …

And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love …

Not by our might.
Not by our vote.
Not by our stand.

More like Stephen, who preached and was stoned to death by angry and righteous Pharisees and Sadducees.

In the movie “The Mission,” the priest is horrified by how his flock take up arms to protect themselves. He and several others take up — metaphorically — banners of love and march into the fray. Powerful.

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.

Gandhi is purported to have commented, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. You Christians are so unlike Christ.”

Well, we say, Christ died for sinners, as if to exonerate us.

True. And also true is we would prefer mercy over justice for our transgressions. I certainly would.

But, like the Pharisees and Sadducees who ended Stephen’s sermon and life, justice is something we would hand out to others readily. At least I would. If I’m honest. Can’t let those sinners get away! I suppose I’m not that different from the folks who attend Westboro Baptist Church. If I’m honest.

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

This isn’t an indictment of the Christian religion, rather the hearts of most Christians. I always heard going into McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger.

It’s an indictment of me. Have mercy!

Tall and tan and lovely and handsome
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes you by
She passes go “Ah!”

Easier to sing than the other song. No indictments.

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2 Responses to “Old Tunes”

  1. Alvin W. Moore Jr August 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    Well said, Skip. I see the pointer up there for your previous tweet, about Free Loveseat. Har, Har, that was a hoot!

    • skipmars August 21, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

      Trust you’re doing well.

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