I watched a documentary on PBS the other day on the making of a 1930s movie that advertised the Bonneville power project to people in the Great Depression. The documentary focused on the Hoover and Grand Coolidge dams. Since I love to learn about our country's history and the people involved in it, I have to admit I was in awe. But what caught my attention most about this chronicle was the kernel of humanity wrapped up inside it represented by a songwriter, Woody Guthrie.
"Woody Guthrie," I thought. "I've heard that name before, but where?"
My answer flooded in like a torrent, words from Woody Guthrie's own songs, songs immersed in the fresh air and sparkling rivers of the Northwest. The songs spoke that Woody Guthrie, a poor dirt farmer from the middle part of the United States, also felt in awe of our Great Northwest; he made it known too in his music and words. Woody Guthrie wrote for money, sure. The nineteen songs he wrote earned him $300.00 and immense respect, fame as a musician; but where did the music come from?
The words came out about the desert, rivers, valleys, currents, and streams. With this scenery he intertwined the hopes of a united though desperate people attempting to bring power to their community. In nineteen songs the young Woody Guthrie took the torrid feelings of his time and condensed them into a movie commemorating Bonneville's dams.
When nature opens the lungs of a poet, out can pour torrents of fresh reality to reinvigorate a stale over-educated society; hence, the power of a mere drifter.
I connected with Woody Guthrie through his truth and simplicity, as I'm sure others have. I am so tired of Hollywood and the music machines of our day. This short movie advertising the Bonneville Dam project had nothing to do with the elites of Hollywood; it was pieced together by ordinary people, amateurs struggling to put food on the table and contribute to their communities.
Although Woody Guthrie never professed to be a Christian, much spiritual wisdom can be drawn from the river of his spoken and written words; thus comes the reason for this essay that I too can be proud of my amateur status. I too can work hard to show this spirit of freedom to others. I stand alone, but I hold on to the truth.
The truth I speak of is unpopular in this world; nevertheless, I cling to it with all my soul, being. I hold on to community, the hands of my co-workers, family, friends, and Christ. Although complete immersion into society is not possible upon this earth, perfection awaits those who pursue Christ into the next earth. You can find me in the patterns of society, among laymen, who show their purpose from crib to coffin; plumbers, ditch diggers, electricians, mechanics, teachers, family people, singles, all day web-surfers, all night television watchers, counselors of lost souls, the many who touch the fabric of our world through the power of Love but may not even know how far they reach.
In the same way I took a bit of wisdom from the words and life of Woody Guthrie, I can only hope the reader takes a word or two of hope from me. At the end of days, movies will roll in front of every person, showing all we have ever said, seen or done. Our pictures will appear not only in the movie of our own life, but in scenes of others who have crossed our path. In fact this scene here where the reader peruses this page will no doubt appear as a time of decision. I encourage you, reader, to accept this invitation; join our community of Christ followers, so your face will light up with joy upon your entrance into the Ages.
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