I was a folk song singing whirlwind when I grew up. I loved the songs “If I had a Hammer,” “Blowing in the Wind,” and “One Tin Soldier.” I love the scriptures, like Isaiah 2, which poetically describe a peace yet to come. So it was hard for me to watch Scorsese’s documentary film on Dylan. I watched my peace loving friends “boo” this man who wanted to keep on creating in new ways. As long as he fit into their folk singing box, he was their favorite son. As soon as he sang Maggie’s farm to an electrified band, he was the one who had betrayed the movement. One man called out from the audience, “Judas.”
Often God, like Dylan, is asked to play the same old songs again and again when what God really desires is to be God. God’s Holy Spirit needs room to create. God’s creative force breaks open boxes and boundaries and uses all kinds of people, in all kinds of places, to turn that spear into a pruning hook.
Making peace is hard. It requires more than just setting down our weapons. It requires we get involved with people who are very different from us. It requires we listen. It requires we not put people into a box. As there are infinite notes to make a song so too there are infinite combinations of scripture and person to make sons and daughters who lead us in God’s ways of peace.
Dylan knew who he was. When that man called out “Judas,” Dylan responded, “Liar.’ He then backed away as if he was going to start the second set. Struck by something else, he went back to the microphone and said “I don’t believe you.” Then, he began to play.
We say here at North Long Beach Christian Church, “Here You are Loved.” We love you too much to put you in a box. We will give you the experience of worship and teachings from scripture you need to become a son and daughter who walks in the ways of peace. And, guess what? God loves you even more.
Come, get up to the mountain, a place apart from society’s noise, and learn the ways of God. And, get on doing your holy work. For the world, indeed, is in need of makers of peace.