What good is love and peace on earth?
When it’s exclusive?
Where’s the truth in the written word?
If no one reads it
A new day dawning
Comes without warning
So don’t blink twice
We live in troubled times
This is a lyric from the song “Troubled Times” on the new Green Day album.
Two things come to my mind and heart when I hear this song:
First, in Romans, Paul tells us that since the beginning of time God’s qualities (one of them being truth) have been obviously evident in all the things that are around us, including other people. The amazing thing about truth is its resiliency. It is like matter. It comes to us in different forms, but it cannot be destroyed or done away with. Truth is everywhere (even in Green Day songs, much to the distress of my mother) if I am willing to see it and if I am sensitive to the Spirit of God (which is where the ability to see the truth lives in me.)
Billie Joe Armstrong (lead singer for Green Day) is not a theologian. I doubt he is a Christ follower in even the loosest sense. But what may be known about God is as plain to Billie Joe as it is to anyone. When he writes songs about what he sees wrong with the world he can’t help but allude to the truth, because it is what he and all the rest of us were made for.
Second, this lyric makes me cry if I think about it very much. The angel said to the shepherds, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy.” They sang about God’s glory and peace on earth. After the shepherds had seen Jesus the bible says “they spread the word” about what they had seen and heard. Coming into contact with the savior, even as an infant, was something they couldn’t keep to themselves.
Later in Jesus’ life his focus on the marginalized and lost was obvious. He was pretty hard on the “good” people who excluded the “bad” people. He gave love and grace and mercy to anyone who sought him, and they didn’t have to drive across town. He went to where they were. He ate with them, walked with them, and drank from wells with them.
God has given me so much grace and mercy. Why am I so stingy with it?
What good is God’s love and the peace that it can bring to hurting and broken people if I keep it to myself.
I know the truth is there for anyone to see, and maybe they should pick up a bible and read it, but do they see that truth written on my life and in my actions?
We do live in troubled times. Everyone is looking for love and peace, they are just looking in the wrong places and they aren’t sure what it looks like. We know what love and peace look like and we know where it is. Why are we hiding it?