Sunday, December 13, 2015

Northern Lights

Three of our faculty members are Canadian and a fourth is married to one so I'm dedicating this to them. The season of Christmas music is in full swing. My mother loved playing Christmas music and I kind of like it or at least the memories it brings to mind. This entry, from December 20, 2005, is about one of my favorite songs that I associate with the holidays even though it technically is not a Christmas song. 

Most of us in the mainstream have little patience for celebrities, especially athletes, musicians, and movie stars. We think they make too much money and are self-absorbed but the public eats up every morsel of news of the rich and famous. How else can we explain shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood which fawn over the celebrities we proclaim to detest? Increasingly, the famous take up causes and endorse candidates. In 1984, a group of British musicians, calling themselves Band Aid, took on hunger and famine in Ethiopia by collaborating on a song entitled Do They Know It's Christmas? with proceeds going to African relief. In January of 1985, an assemblage of rock stars tabbed USA For Africa followed suit with We Are The World. Other efforts have followed over the years, most notably Live Aid and Willie Nelson's Farm Aid. I must admit my political leanings are quite different from what I perceive to be those of the performers and some debate the effectiveness of their campaigns. However, these men and women have at least attempted to address global disasters by using their best assets, their talents.

My favorite musical venture to help the starving was one you may not have heard of. Shortly after Band Aid and USA For Africa, approximately fifty Canadian recording artists came together under the the moniker Northern Lights to do their part. The all-star cast included legends Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, and Burton Cummings. The lyrics were written in both English and French, most notably by Adams. The tune, Tears Are Not Enough, sold more than 300,000 copies, eventually raising more than $3.2 million for famine relief projects in Africa. What struck a chord with me from the Northern Lights ballad was the simple truth of the chorus:

We can bridge the distance, only we can make the difference
Don't you know that tears are not enough.
If we pull together, we could change the world forever
Heaven knows that tears are not enough.

Tears are not enough- what a terrific way to put it. In James 2:15-16, the scriptures say, "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" Throughout the Bible, we are told of God's love for the poor but he also gives to believers the responsibility of taking care of the least fortunate. James defines religion that is acceptable to God as carrying the burden for orphans and widows, groups that still feel the lash of poverty on every continent. It is much easier to discuss the dilemma than to attack it. Talk is cheap-and tears are not enough. The new TIME Magazine is out, the People of the Year issue. Guess who graces the cover? Computer billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates along with rock star Bono. The trio was selected based on their worldwide activism in the war against hunger and the spread of AIDS. We don't have the money of Bill Gates nor the charisma of a superstar like Bono but we can be effective in our own orbits. If we have the desire, the Lord will provide the circumstances for us to be ambassadors for his kingdom. Northern Lights- great name for a terrific song. When our lights shine, a little more darkness disappears. Jesus, in referring to himself, said "I am the light of the world." He also said, referring to his followers, "YOU are the light of the world." It doesn't take much light to make a difference. Jesus told us the poor would always be around . They see us- will we see them?

To listen to Tears Are Not Enough, please click or copy and paste the link below!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Remember the poor- it costs nothing."

Mark Twain

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Devin Turner said...

Hey~ Ha I beat Jon! okay what were you saying about the casino and 2-1 thing? i totally didn't get it! Yes i just got done with my last final they're over yay! Well i wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year! I'm leaving at four today but i'll mos def. see you before i leave!

Jon said...

i cant believe i lost..... ugh.... have a great holidays