A Facebook friend of mine named Dean posts songs to FB on a frequent basis. He posts songs he is fond of and songs that have a message… a wide genre, but always inspiring. Yesterday was Easter Sunday and he posted a YouTube clip of Keith Green singing a live performance of The Easter Song.
I was moved to tears as I listened again to a song we all remember from our past. But as I listened I recalled the day Keith died. In fact, that sad day in July 1982, when my morning alarm awoke me to the sounds of the local contemporary Christian music station, it was the news story of the hour. And it was a day of heaviness for us in the Christian community.
It appeared the world was changing in a way that would bring an end to the moral fiber of society as we had known it...
Today, as I listened again to one of the most remarkable Christian musicians to ever grace this planet, I was reminded of the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s, 70s and early 80s. The United States, and indeed the world were in turmoil from the volatility of the times – the war in Vietnam sparking such protest, and the kids experimenting with more and more drugs or different types. “Tune in, Turn on and Drop out” was the cry of a new generation! It appeared the world was changing in a way that would bring an end to the moral fiber of society as we had known it. And to watch the evening news, with the Manson murders and the Kent State shootings and the Watts riots, we had ample reason to despair.
But alas, where sin abounds Grace does much more abound. While the modern day equivalent of the Sharks and the Jets were rioting in the streets of New York City, a meek and mild mannered preacher by the name of David Wilkerson was answering the call to go to this strange and distant land to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to a generation lost to their parents, lost to their nation, and lost in their sins. And from that humble beginning this generation and the next were blessed with the story of “The Cross and the Switchblade” and the ministry of “Teen Challenge”. And both have touched countless lives, mine included!
And then there’s Keith! Keith Green was a modern day “John the Baptist” who had mastered classical music by the age of 6, and laid it down to write and perform his own songs. Keith had a recording contract by age 11 and even appeared on the TV show “I’ve Got a Secret”. As Keith grew up he turned to drugs, eastern religions and the hippie lifestyle. But this Jewish man had a hunger in his heart that led him to the Bible and to a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. And Keith went on to write and sing with an incredible anointing of the Holy Spirit, touching the lives of countless thousands... again of which I was one.
These two gentlemen, and many others I could name if time and space permitted, were modern day trailblazers, carving out a path that led from the fear and despair of the times, forward to a revival known as the Jesus Movement. And this Jesus Movement, with its Jesus Freaks and its confusing imitation in dress and appearance of the rebels it sought to redeem, indeed saw those rebels redeemed! And it changed the World… again!
Thanks David Wilkerson. Thanks Keith Green. And thanks, Dean, for the reminder.
And thank you God for that first Easter that made it all possible!