Kozo at Everydaygurus set this month’s Peace Challenge to music:
For this month’s Peace Challenge I want to invoke the power of music.
• Post a song or video of a song that has brought peace to your world. Feel free to explain how this music has created peace.
• Tell a story about how music “tamed the savage beast.”
• Write a song for peace. You don’t have to write the music, just the lyrics.
• Sing a song for peace and write a post about what you felt.
• Make a top 10 list of songs/artists that bring peace to our world.
• Interview a songwriter about what inspired them to create music that you find peaceful.
• Post anything about the intersection of music and peace.
I have always enjoyed Steve Miller’s, Fly Like An Eagle. If you aren’t familiar with or need to to refresh your memory of the lyrics, you can read them here. Initially, since I was about eight years old when the song was first on the radio, it was the feel of the music ~ a kind of quiet urgency to escape, which was reflected in the lyrics:
I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I’m free
Later, as a young, single-mom, struggling to make ends meet while working with teen moms, I heard this song playing while out dancing and socializing with friends, and it struck me that while this song is about freedom, it is more about what that freedom should be in the context of social justice:
Feed the babies
Who don’t have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin’ in the street
Oh, oh, there’s a solution
I declared it as the anthem and theme song of social workers everywhere.
More recently, I came across a YouTube video of a live performance on The Midnight Special, “an American late-night musical variety series that aired on NBC during the 1970s and early 1980s.” (Wikipedia)
This 7:07 length version of the song was profoundly powerful for me, especially in the context of my Christian belief system. It opens with a beautifully haunting guitar solo, which I quickly realized was the Christmastime song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
God rest Ye, merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember, Christ, our Savior, was born upon this day; to save us all from Satan’s power, which long had gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy. O tidings of comfort and joy.
Hearing that oft sung, traditional tune juxtaposed with the ethereal psychedelic tone and rhythm in this version, combined with an arrangement I had never heard before, emphasizing the idea that the revolution for freedom is not about fighting, but about reaching out and offering care, comfort, and provision for those not able to attain it on their own.
Matthew Matthew 25:34-40 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’
While it has become the accepted expectation that governments provide funding and programs to provide the minimal necessities for the survival of their constituents, it never has been, and never will be the role of any governmental system to nurture, care, and love the individual people, simply because it can’t. The role of government is to perpetuate itself and to maintain its power and presence, hopefully for the betterment of its population as a whole. However, every governmental system has proven itself incapable of doing so because the people in it stop serving people and begin serving and maintaining the system.
Individual people are the ones who are ultimately responsible and accountable for how we show compassion, concern, and care toward the other people we encounter each day, whether they be familiar or stranger. This is a basic tenet of the Christian belief system and, as far as I know, most belief systems throughout our world – however distorted and obfuscated that message has become.
Intentional acts of kindness, from one individual toward another, have deeper and more significant impact in the lives of those around us, than any government, agency, or organization ever will, because of the attitudes and actions of the agents themselves being bound and limited by rules, processes, policies, and the agenda requirements attached by funding sources. The programs and services are necessary and helpful, but only provide a subsistence level of care to ensure survival and do very little toward aiding people to thrive and grow. That takes a personal connection.
Individuals like Kozo are revolutionary leaders sharing vision and calls to individual action. Another such person is John, founder of the Suspended Coffees community on Facebook.
I know there are many who shun Facebook because so much self-promotion, inane memes, petty drama, and horrific behavior is often displayed by so many users. I understand. However, there are MANY who are using it as a tool for constructive change. It is a tool which reflects those who use it.
John uses it to inspire others to step beyond the boundaries of their lives as individuals to reach positively into the lives of other individuals. He, Kozo, and many of my fellow bloggers and FB friends fly like eagles every day into and through the revolution of freedom for not just the bodies of their fellow humans, but also for freedom in mind and spirit.
Let’s become like eagles and join them, shall we?