About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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John Lennon's Imagine  


Despite my mother's disapproval, I began listening to popular songs in December, 1965, after her and dad gave me a six transistor radio for Christmas.  I recall listening to John Lennon's song "Imagine" that was released on his 1971 album by the same name.  I've heard it many times since, both on the radio and on my "John Lennon Collection" CD. 


Lennon invited us all to join him in imagining a world where "there's no heaven, no hell below us, above us only sky. It's easy if you try."  Well, it's not easy for me to imagine and it certainly wasn't for my mom.  I get my Christian mom's dislike for pop music that I heard on CJBQ Belleville, CHUM Toronto , WKBW Buffalo, and ironically, on my radio mom and dad gave me.   


"You may say I'm a dreamer," he sang.  We all know Lennon's imaginative dreams died while he was back on top of the charts with his album "Double Fantasy."  I lived in a Washington DC suburb, when on December 8, 1980, the sudden, shocking and sad news broke.  "John Lennon of the Beatles Killed; Suspect Held in Shooting at Dakota," the New York Times headline read. 


I like everything about "Imagine," except for the lyrics.  Just "imagine all the people, living for today," he sang.  With no heaven or hell, living for today may make sense for some.  Even Paul, no, not Paul McCartney, Paul the apostle, might have agreed with Lennon on that count.  "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19).  Paul was not to be pitied.  His hope of a resurrected life in heaven determined how he lived "for today." 


"Imagine there's no countries, nothing to live or die for.  Imagine no possessions, no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man."  John's love-in communal living sounded cool in our hippie days, but as was our common experience, it failed.  Nations, which "we live and die for," originated with man's arrogant aspirations to erect an empire apart from God (Genesis 11).  It's why God disbursed us into various ethnicities, which we've been undoing ever since in our hope to rebuild Babel , that one-world, peace-loving, human nation that Lennon called "a brotherhood of man."   


Imagine "no religion, too."  Would no religion "Give Peace a Chance," as Lennon sang with his Plastic Ono Band on a 1969 single's release recorded in Montreal?  Would no religion discard his Beatle band mate George Harrison's eastern mysticism?  Is religion really our problem as the centuries-old conspiracy theory tells us?  Jeremiah 17:9 states the truth.  Humanity is the problem.   


John Lennon released "Imagine" while the Beatles were suffering through divisive issues that eventually split them apart.  Larry Norman (1970's Christian rock singer) commented on this in his song entitled "Reader's Digest," released in 1972 on his "Upon This Rock" album.  In part, he sang: "the Beatles sang all you need is love, and then they broke up."  So much for John Lennon's "brotherhood of man."         


Have John Lennon's imaginative dreams or George Harrison's eastern mysticism ever purified the thoughts and attitudes of the human heart?  While Lennon was imagining and Harrison was meditating, I was meeting up with the Lord Jesus Christ.  His living Word, has penetrated the thoughts and attitudes of my heart which helps me live His way "for today."   Read Hebrews 4:12.   


"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."


Post Script


Imagine by John Lennon


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin' for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too


Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one


Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man


Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


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