One Big Soul: Thinking of Woody Guthrie and the Call of our Better Angels

One Big Soul: Thinking of Woody Guthrie and the Call of our Better Angels July 14, 2022

woody

 

 

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Charles Dickens

Like many people I think this is one of the great sentences in English literature. I love how it works in both the full version and that summation:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Not unlike our times. For sure.

And, I noticed that today, the 14th of July is Woody Guthrie’s birthday. He was born in 1912, so he would have turned 110 today.

It occurs to me that part of what makes the best of times in the worst of times is that we get prophets of our better angels. People who can name the ills and point us toward healing.

I think Woody Guthrie was one such prophet.

He reminded us how in the Western tradition God calls us to see the poor and the outcast, the lost and the forgotten. And not just to see them. But to see within the foreigner, the “other” however we see someone as not us, they are the face of God.

Woody understood that. He used somewhat different language. But, I think, I feel, perhaps his language is still among the more relevant for our times, our worst of times that can be the best of times. If we refocus, if we give ourselves into the mystery.

We can discover we are in some very real way all one big soul.

So. Happy birthday, Woody!

We sure could use you about now. And, I’m so glad, in some very real ways, you are here…

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