This month marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It’s not exactly the kind of place I would normally go to for Christian inspiration, but bear with me. The four-day festival in the fields of Max Yasgur’s New York farm became the iconic event for a generation seeking freedom, equality, and peace.
For the most part, the event went off wihout major incident (two people died, one of a heroin overdose and one from a tractor accident). This is due in no small part to the work of The Hog Farm, a hippie commune from California, who worked to feed the 400,000-plus attendees, help people navigate drug overdoses, and generally maintained the positive goals of the festival. One morning, while the Hog Farm workers and other volunteers were distributing a granola breakfast to the mud-covered, rain-soaked attendees, Wavy Gravy announced over the PA system, “We must be in Heaven, man!…There’s always a little bit of Heaven in a disaster area.”
There’s always a little bit of Heaven in a disaster area.
Few secular voices have ever managed to speak more profound words of grace.
Because of sin, because of pride, because of arrogance, our world is a disaster area. Whether the global community or our own lives, we are embedded in a world of chaos and pain, defined by selfish, vain deceits that draw us away from the best things and binds us to the worst.
Romans 1-3 remind us that we walked away from the love of God and defiantly choose self-rule. Adam led, and we all blindly follow. We tried to run the universe, and we drove it right into the ground.
Into this disaster area comes Romans 5:6-8, “6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Into our disaster area, Christ inserted his heavenly reality. Love came and stood against the selfish, destructive pursuits of humanity, and changed history.
I look at the disaster areas of my life, and many times I wonder where God is. I have a dear friend who has suffered great tragedy in his life. In reflecting upon the loss of his father to disease, he once told me, “We are all casualties in this war.” We are not the natural enemy in this war. We all have to choose our allegiance. Satan chose a scorched earth policy, destroying everything good in creation in a desperate attempt to create hate towards God in us. But Christ has come, and he has demonstrated heaven in our disaster area, by giving his life for us.
What disaster area needs your view of heaven?