Ozzy Was Right

Just over 35 years and countless brain cells ago, Ozzy Osbourne and his pals recorded the rock classic, “Crazy Train.”

Those lyrics, so simple and remarkably easy to understand, resonate for me as I see the world around us seemingly spinning out of control.

Crazy, but that's how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it's not too late
To learn how to love and forget how to hate
Mental wounds not healing
Life's a bitter shame
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train

It seems eerily prophetic as I see the words I have heard so many times. The world is crazy – more than ever before. That is how it goes.

People all over the world, but particularly here in our good ol’ U.S.A., are living as though anyone with a different perspective or opinion is an enemy. It’s almost humorous at times. Whatever the issue may be…gun laws, marriage laws, justice issues, immigration, religious freedom, and on and on and on…it’s as if you can’t say anything without being attacked by someone.

I even sometimes get critical remarks from the extremes for trying to stand in the middle and acknowledge the issues from different sides. Some are offended by any position other than their own and others are offended that they’re offended. It’s absolutely crazy.

Say what you want to about Ozzy, but he was right. And truth is truth no matter where it is revealed. And it has gotten worse since he said it.

But…maybe it’s not too late. Maybe we can learn to love. I mean to really love.

But when you love someone, you listen to them even if you don’t agree with what they are saying. You value people over perspectives. You care more about them than yourself. It may even mean caring more about others than your own freedoms.

Paul the Apostle talked about such willful sacrifice in 1 Corinthian 8-9. People were getting upset because others were eating food that had been offered to idols. Paul knows as I’m sure we do that an idol (particularly in that case) was a rock or a block of wood or chunk of metal. Waving a piece of meat in front of a block of wood before you throw it on the grill does absolutely nothing to the meat. It is meaningless.

But, if someone is going to be tripped up in their faith by it, Paul says don’t eat it – not because it’s sinful to eat that meat, but because it’s sinful to hinder someone in their faith.

You see, Paul seems to suggest that influencing people with the love and grace of Jesus is more important than being right or even than being free. Look at these words:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. (1 Corinthians 9:19)

A Servant. That word is often translated “slave.” He saw himself as a slave to all people so that, by serving them in the love of Jesus, they might come to know the grace of God and find new life.

So…if he means what he says and if it is truly the model for us to follow, then we have to conclude that not only are our rights not more important than others, but, in fact, our rights are less important in comparison to others. This is not by the law of the land, but by the truth of the gospel.

The message that Jesus lived and taught was that He, the rightful King of Heaven, left His throne and came to live as a servant and die in our place. Then He had the audacity to ask us to live like He did.

Whatever side of the many issues you may find yourself, if you claim the name of Jesus, you’re called to be more concerned about others than yourself. You’re called to love people, not opinions. You’re called to love people, not freedoms. You’re called to love.

Ozzy was right. Maybe it’s not too late.

 

From the Inside Out

I have this affinity for Christmas music, perhaps due to the resonating truths married to simple melody that stirs something in me. While it’s not necessarily about Christmas, this enchanting carol, Dona Nobis Pacem, has long haunted my ears.

There are only three words, “Dona nobis pacem,” which is latin for “grant to us peace.” I encourage you to take just a moment and let this beautiful instrumental soothe your soul.

What a beautiful prayer. Grant to us peace. What a fitting holiday sentiment. And I find myself wrestling with the weight of things that don’t seem particularly peaceful. This week alone I have spent almost 20 hours in or driving to and from hospitals. My heart has been heavy for folks that are very dear to me who are in times that are not principally characterized by peace.

Continue reading From the Inside Out

The Great Peace-Keeper

In 1971, Cat Stevens made a record that resonated with the universal desire for peace. He urged us all to jump on the peace train. This video shows you the lyrics as you listen to this catchy tune.

Peace. It’s such an illusive idea these days.

When we look around – at the news reports, at the faces of people we meet on the street – peace is not the word that comes to mind. There is stress and struggle and war and conflict. There is violence and contention and litigation and outrage. But there is not much peace.

What Mr. Stevens implored us to do was not wrong, but I think he missed the key component – the great Peace-Keeper.

Continue reading The Great Peace-Keeper