Days of Peace and Music
Woodstock is still looked on as an iconic event that captured the spirit of a generation.
A rock concert-come- love fest-come- share my waccybaccy in the August of 1969, it breathed (if with a slight odour) community, group hugs, and the ideals of love and good vibes.
It is almost as famous for who declined the invitation to play at the concert, including The Doors, Joni Mitchell and the Moody Blues – folk whom you would have normally associated with that kind of thing.
They all, it seemed, had better things to do for their careers than attend. If they’d known it would turn out to be one of the best remembered events of the twentieth century, maybe they would have come to the party.
Better things to do
It’s all reminiscent of that parable in Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 22), which tells of a king who had prepared a wedding banquet for his son and then told the invited guests it was all prepared.
They had other priorities, and so refused, and even reverted to violence. I suppose, when they had been invited it had seemed like a good idea, but no apparent date was set, so they got on with their lives.
They thought it would be better for them just to forget it. When the king persisted with his invitation, they turned nasty. They didn’t want their choices challenged.
Care in the community
We hear a lot these days about community; engaging the community, care in the community, building community. We also hear about individual choices,
self-expression, and the validity of everyone’s opinion.
How do we reconcile the two? How do we really achieve the balance, if that’s the right word?
The answer, we believe, is when both the individual and the community choose care for the other– or better – caritas/agape/sacrificing love.
Changing water into wine – what could be more normal?
We’ve been reflecting on ‘Getting back to Normal’, and I’ve suggested that what we mean in the Church as ‘normal’ is life in Christ.
Life in Christ is really about growth and change, and that involves motivation, goals and support. All three of those involve love; not any old love; the love of Christ. The love of Christ motivates, directs and supports.
The support we receive is not a kind of medication, or a ‘there, there, it’ll be fine.’ No; it’s the support that comes from overwhelming unconditional love that induces, in each of us, overwhelming unconditional love.
In giving, we realise there is no opposition between the self and community.
In this kind of life, the norm is transformation. The Gospel of John tells of another banquet, featured this coming Sunday; the Wedding Feast at Cana. Out of love, not convenience, Jesus shows his power and transforms the entire situation. For us, that’s normal.
In previous reflections, we’ve talked about the feelings, the thoughts, the prayer, and the decisions. Briefly think about all that and then leave it to one side.
Ultimately, change is simply turning away from one thing towards another. Turn your back on all that weighs you down. Picture that Wedding Feast at Cana and walk in.
You’re invited, of course you should be there. They’ve been waiting on you. Sit down with Jesus, Mary and the disciples. Feel the love and the joy, and just stay there for a while. You won’t be the same when you get back up.