Drums, Records and Passing On The Faith

I was listening to the radio the other day in my car when I heard a story about a song written by a relatively new hard rock artist named Jeris Johnson.  

Johnson related that the inspiration for the song came from a guy named John, whom he met as a teenager.  

John was selling his drum set, so Johnson and his father went to check it out before buying it.  John was a Vietnam veteran whose old injuries finally caught up with him, and he could no longer play the drums, so he was selling his whole kit. 

Jeris said that he got the feeling as they were talking that John was sizing him up and determining whether his drum kit was going to a good home before he sold it.  At last, they agreed on a price, and the drum kit was loaded up, and Jeris took it home. 

Almost a year later, Jeris said there was a knock on their door at Christmas. To his surprise, it was John, and he was carrying a huge stack of vinyl records. He had handpicked over half of his collection to give to Jeris. 

Then he left, and Jeris never saw him again.  

When I heard the song inspired by this story, I was struck by these words: 

I met a man as he walked on the edge of the sky
He gave me the keys to his castle and started to cry
He said, "All of these days that escaped
Have led me to you and I'm suffocating
My last breath that I take, I give to you"

Just don't let me down
It's too late for me, but not for you
You will make me proud
It took more than I could ever do

[If you are a fan of hard rock, check out the single "John" by Jeris Johnson.]

I got emotional listening to the song, and I've been thinking about it ever since.  I believe there was something beautiful and spiritual about the song and the story.  

I started thinking about the next generation of Christians and how they are inheriting a version of the Church that has seen better days, according to all the metrics used to measure health. 

Strangely, I felt a sense of hope as I thought more deeply about this.  

Some treasures within the Christian faith have withstood the test of time. These include deep spirituality, compassion, sacrifice, love, forgiveness, and more.  

We need to pass these things on to the next generation.  This might mean picking and choosing what is essential and full of truth, beauty, and love.  All the rest can stay in a box in our garage.  

Additionally, the greatest gift we can give emerging generations of Christians is to know when it's time to hand over the instruments we can no longer play or that we can no longer summon the passion to use as they were meant to be used.  

Trust me, I will keep playing my instruments, so to speak, as long as I possibly can, but I hope I know when it's time to turn them over to someone who can play in new rhythms. 

Christianity's best days are ahead, and it will be in good hands with those who will come after us.  Transformation is needed, to be sure, but I'm hopeful of what comes next.  

Focusing on Jesus and how Jesus is still at work in his Church is one of the most hopeful exercises any of us can participate in, and I hope we do. 

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.  


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