The Beatles - Imagine that
Today I read an article on Truth Matters regarding Scott Distler, Pastor of Grace Church in Lititz, PA, who has instructed his worship leaders to begin the service with a Beatles song. Whatever his reasons were, the article caused me to remember how fondly I used to cherish my six or seven Beatles albums before I knew salvation in Jesus.
Now, I look back on what I was embracing and it is sickening. The "Innocent Beatles" hated my Savior with their actions, with their words. I'll take a moment to retrospect on my then-favorite musician of the four.
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me" - John Lennon, Playboy Magazine 1965
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
-John Lennon, Imagine
During the Beatles' formative years in Germany, another biographer recounts how on Good Friday, the day that marks the Lord's crucifixion, Lennon made some nuns the target of his abuse. As they left their convent to attend worship services "they were shocked to behold across the street, a grotesque life-size effigy of Jesus on the cross, which John had fashioned and hung from his balcony. As the sisters gazed in astonishment at this sacrilegious display, John started pelting them with Durex condoms filled with water." To top it off, he urinated on them while crying "rain drops from heaven." [The Lives of John Lennon, Albert Goldman, William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1988, p. 120]
Lennon's understanding that he dwells in a godless universe is revealed in different places. For example, in "I Found Out," he stated: "There ain't no Jesus gonna come from the sky," and in the song "God" he goes one further: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain."[ http://www.worldsocialism.org/articles/imagine_by_john_lennon.php]
Now let's look at what another John said.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. " [1 John 2:15-17]
And what did James say?
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." [James 1:27]
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." [James 4:4]
"I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that fall away; it shall not cling to me." [Psalm 101:3]
"Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." [Romans 12:9]
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." [2 Corinthians 7:1]
I thank my God for forgiving me the idolatry and vanity of my former conduct regarding music. I cared more about chord progressions and rhythms than pleasing the infinite and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of souls.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." [Ecclesiastes 12:13-14]
As an interesting note, John and Paul McCartney first met on July 6, 1957, at the Woolton Parish Church in Liverpool. I don't know if the pastor was playing Chuck Berry songs that day instead of proclaiming the whole counsel of God, but what may have been the difference in history had the two young men been gripped by the gospel that day! Imagine that.