This Changes Everything #1: Resolving to Hope

This month, we're starting to roll out the tracks from my musical "This Changes Everything," a series of vignettes from the gospels set to music for your vocal ensemble to perform.  Normally, we'll release one song per month, but the two pieces that set the table at the beginning need to be heard together.  

They present  two prevailing notions about the hoped-for Jewish messiah before Jesus came.  One was that anyone holding out for change after centuries of destruction and oppression were kidding themselves.  Things will never change, they thought, and the best you can do is learn to survive "what is."  That's a great many of us to this day.  We lack the capacity for hope.  We demonize change.  We are cynical about idealists.  We walk through life singing "this is the way it is, no one can change it…" 

The other idea alive and well in first century BCE was the belief that a messiah would come, but that he would be essentially a Jewish Caesar (the titles later given to Jesus by the church-- Son of God, Lord of Lords, King of Kings--- had long been titles given to the Caesars), and that his solutions to "the way things are" would be a combination of economic prosperity, political revenge and military might, and divine religious power.  It just so happens that these were the three temptations Jesus rejected before he ever started his ministry.  To this day, people pray to God for blessings that take precisely those forms, and judge God for not coming through on cue.  We want a God who will "take all of our troubles away," rather than one who calls for us to develop a spiritual life and a Christ-like character, and to employ our unique gifts in communities of faith.

Before we get on with the rest of the musical, it's worth thinking about how much these two ideologies infect our thinking and living each day, how the first is a commitment to despair, and the second is a recipe for it.

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