|Friday, March 20||
But as for me, I still remember how it was before
And I am holding back the tears no more, I love you
The day was July 19, 2017. I and 12,499 of my closest friends were crammed into the Intrust Bank Arena to see a real live Beatle: Paul McCartney was in the flesh and playing live here in Wichita to a sold out crowd. I was not at church, and was not really expecting Sir Paul to do much preaching, but to my surprise, McCartney shared a poignant message on forgiveness that has stuck with me. This lesson came through a song that musically isn’t one of my favorite McCartney tunes, and if this devotional were only about musical intrigue, I never would have chosen “Here Today.” But this devotional is about how The Spirit can speak through song, even a song I don’t particularly care for musically, at a concert where I wouldn’t necessarily expect it.
I think what made this song stick out in my memory is first the way Paul McCartney almost broke into tears on stage while playing it, and the way McCartney emotionally dedicated it to his late band mate, John Lennon. The two Beatles of course very publicly had a falling out coinciding with the breakup of their band, and both of them wrote songs and gave interviews with hurtful barbs directed at each other during an ongoing feud. But this song, written after John Lennon’s death, sounded more like an apology, a friend realizing something was broken and trying to find words to fix it. McCartney, in front of thousands of adoring strangers, stressed that he regretted the way things had ended with his friend, and wrote this song to be the healing conversation he wished they could have shared. As McCartney said that night: “It’s very difficult to say to each other, ‘I love you.’ You just don’t do that stuff. I wrote this after John passed away, and it’s in the form of a conversation that we never got to have.”
Remembering that night and knowing the context of that song, I’m reminded of Jesus words in Matthew 5:23-24
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” That verse can sound like a guilt trip, but I think it is more of an invitation to heal. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring for us, our friends, or our families. Jesus invites us to do our part to heal what is broken in the here and now while it is fresh on our minds. God, of course offers the ultimate grace to fix what is broken, but let us look to him and be a part of that healing here today.
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