Our wishful Washington concert

 

OIP-1

What a concert!

Yesterday I wrote a Catch about how music might have affected the large political gathering at the Capitol building last week the way music addressed another political crowd gathered near the nation’s capitol back in 1963 during the civil rights march on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Peter, Paul and Mary; Bob Dylan; Joan Baez and Mahalia Jackson were some of the singers at that event. We could have benefited from some singers last Wednesday.

It made me think about the power of music to create an opportunity for deeper reflection about who we are and what we are about to do. So I asked our Catch citizens to become concert promoters for a day and come up with songs and singers they would like to have represented at such a gathering. The result was an incredible list from “Amazing Grace,” to the “Epilogue” from “Les Misérables,” to “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, or “On the Turning Away” by Pink Floyd, or anything by U2, to name just a few. You can read down the list and imagine the songs you know in your head and reflect on the potential truth-telling and healing that music can provide.

For your reflection today, I have selected two songs, and by executive privilege, one of them is mine. It’s one of my lesser-known songs, “All Fall Down,” off a lesser-known album, “Casual Crimes,” and I chose it because it surprised me with its relevance to today’s situation. I make no apology for having a prophetic gift that sometimes goes beyond me, and expresses itself mostly in my writing when I write something I know that is right though I don’t understand it at the time, and I realize that what I wrote comes into its own years later. This song was written in the 1980s and is suddenly more relevant than ever.

All fall down

Pieces on the ground

All fall down

Pieces on the ground

 

They live in high places

Theyre keeping everybody under

They smile with two faces

But they cant hear the coming thunder

 

The pride and the glory

The imposition and the power

The right hand; the left hand

The clock hand turning in the tower

 

The walls of this city

A fortress keeping us apart

The law with no pity

Around a barricaded heart

 

All fall down

Pieces on the ground

All fall down

Pieces on the ground

The falling down is the collapse of everything as we know it — what we’re used to; what we thought we could control. And the first verse refers to the hypocrisy of any authoritarian or political rule. The second verse refers to the corruption of power. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (John Acton) It also refers to the division on the right and the left that we experience right now, and the dangerous extremism on both sides. And the last verse could almost have been written about Inauguration Day, 2021. A day that should be about unity is going to be a day of walls (or fences) that separate us, law that has no compassion and the worst sort of barricade — one that surrounds and isolates a human heart.

So why is any of this a good thing? Because when everything falls down, God can start over. At least that works in a life. We come to the end of ourselves before we can experience God ’s love, forgiveness and power to remake us. Failure is the way you discover that everything comes from God and nothing from you. And the assumption that the church could accomplish anything through politics is something we need to let fall down and walk away from in order to rediscover the kingdom of God.

And finally, there’s no doubt about the last song in our concert. It’s the way Brian Wilson ends his concerts, so that people walk out with, “Love and mercy is what you need tonight; Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight” playing over and over in their heads. Love and mercy are how God rebuilds our lives and how we reach out to others with the grace He gives to us turned outward. It’s an understatement that love and mercy is what we all need right now.

If you’d like to hear these songs, click here for “All Fall Down,” and here for a beautiful rendition of Brian Wilson’s “Love and Mercy” by our good friend Randy Stonehill.

This entry was posted in Christianity and politics, God's love, grace, love and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Our wishful Washington concert

  1. Bob says:

    Thanks so much for this catch! Songs and music add so much meaning to everything in life. I’m sure that is why this catch touches my heart so much! I hope that everyone takes the time to listen to the songs you provided the links to. Thanks John again for freely giving what you have received from the Lord!

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Big TY Pastor John for Today’s Catch & the songs! I NEEDED it!

    PS Deeply appreciate your writing a very cool song & having a prophetic gift and sharing it with us! Booth songs spoke right to my heart!

  3. I’d love to be a part of an Inaugural Concert for Biden

  4. “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King on steps of the Capitol for March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States
    Peter, Paul & Mary sang “Blowing in Wind” from those those steps on that day.
    “The Very Last Day” written by Peter Yarrow & Noel Paul Stookey
    was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on guitar.
    In May 2017, I had the honor of recording “Very Last Day” and for Peter Yarrow to do a cameo performance.
    Combining Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech with “The Very Last Day” about how God has created us all equal and we can measure our spirituality by the way we treat every human with dignity, just seemed like a natural idea to me.

  5. Hey!! Be sure to include this song in the playlist (mentioned and partially quoted by President Joe Biden in his inauguration address today):

    “American Anthem by Norah Jones

    All we’ve been given
    By those who came before
    The dream of a nation
    Where freedom would endure
    The work and prayers
    Of centuries
    Have brought us to this day

    What shall be our legacy?
    What will our children say?
    Let them say of me
    I was one who believed
    In sharing the blessings
    I received
    Let me know in my heart
    When my days are through
    America
    America
    I gave my best to you

    Each generation from the plains
    To distant shore with the gifts
    They were given
    Were determined
    To leave more
    Battles fought together
    Acts of conscience fought alone
    These are the seeds
    From which America has grown

    Let them say of me
    I was one who believed
    In sharing the blessings
    I received
    Let me know in my heart
    When my days are through
    America
    America
    I gave my best to you

    For those who think
    They have nothing to share
    Who fear in their hearts
    There is no hero there
    Know each quiet act
    Of dignity is
    That which fortifies
    The soul of a nation
    That never dies

    Let them say of me
    I was one who believed
    In sharing the blessings
    I received
    Let me know in my heart
    When my days are through
    America
    America
    I gave my best to you

    America
    America
    I gave my best to you

    Shalom, Peace…
    🙂

    • My mistake on the authorship…
      The song, “American Anthem,” was written by songwriter Gene Scheer and was first sung by Denyce Graves in 1998 for President Clinton at the Smithsonian Institution during the launch of the “Save America’s Treasures” initiative.

      Norah Jones memorably sang the song in 2007, and her rendition was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary about World War II, “The War.”

      My apologies for the error…

  6. Pingback: Inauguration Day 2021 | John Fischer The Catch

  7. J. D. Woods says:

    I didn’t watch the Inauguration because I was so burned out by one more political thing. These recent days have contributed to my cynicism, I’ll admit. But these words of hope and good cheer that I just read, really resonated with me. This generation has their problems and shortcomings but one thing they’ve got down cold is that to win, we need to care for others and do it one person at a time. We need to wake up every morning with the determination to do as much good as we can for as many people as we can for as long as we can. That’s my take on life anyway.

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