I was reminded last night of someone who I admired in my young adulthood. A man in my church who is my age was leading the singing, just him, a mic, and a guitar. He leads with a humble spirit. Together we sang a worship song that was hauntingly familiar. Someone asked the songwriter's name. His response brought it into focus, a song from the 1970's. It was a song of Keith Green's from back in the day. It was like remembering an old friend, a familiar warmth of liking and happy memories. I have a recording of that song on one of my albums that reside on a shelf in a closet.
The song and its memory took me back to a concert in the late 1970's when I heard Keith Green in person, sing at CSUC university's auditorium. Keith was wearing an orange T-shirt (which struck me as odd, unconventional, probably why I still remember it) playing the piano and talking to us, frank talk peppered with tangible waves of enthusiasm. We were a college crowd, the auditorium was two-third's full. He called us out, challenging us to live for Christ, to turn our town of Chico up on end, on fire for Jesus Christ. There was no denying his passion. He was dead serious, his words full of life and vigor.
The crowd was pretty "pentecostal" waving their arms in the air and joining in, not like myself, my baptist background kicking in with a withholding, sobering restraint, and suspicion. I remember deciding that I wasn't about to wave my arms in the air! Yes, I was that stubborn (and self-righteous), thinking I was right and the others were being carried-away by their emotions. Oh brother! My Christian walk was way too scripted in those days. A song or two after my mind formed the negative thought, Keith Green began to be direct with the crowd, "Those of you with your hands raised, are they holy hands?" He continued on, speaking the truth to all of us in the audience. We got the message, hands in praise and worship must match with a heart that is obedient in action. Wow. He had my attention, and I realized, he wasn't just another Christian performer, no, he was real.
Keith Green's comment has stayed with me through the years. I self-judge my actions in church. If I raise my hands in worship, I look inward at my heart and outward to my God, that I may seek to be in right communion with God first and foremost. At the time, however, I was a bit skeptical of his message, thinking that for all practical purposes, probably Keith Green believed a little too much in the impossible, that he didn't know the people in Chico, my home town. Yet, I was drawn to his message and wanted to believe it.
Keith Green was right, though, with the power of God there is the potential and possibility of great change in and through people, I fully believe in a God of the impossible. Later on I would purchase his albums, subscribe to his newsletter, and see a true Jesus Freak living the real life by being the hands and feet of Jesus to hurting people. He had lived that life and he understood it. A few years later, it was through my Pastor that I first learned of Keith Green's untimely death and also the death of his two children caused by an unfortunate plane crash. It was one of those unbelievable things that are hard to understand, especially since the accident was due to human error. I didn't understand why God would allow a talented musical evangelist, one who could speak the language of the youth, especially one who had so much to give and say, to leave this world before he had barely begun.
Years, decades later, Keith Green continues to be heard, his message goes forth. It will never be silenced. Thank you, to Melody Green, who keeps the fire burning and the legacy on-going, and to other musicians and producers who believe his works should be available today and for future generations.
I leave with you my most favorite of his songs. "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful." This song is pure worship and praise to God, a God who loves us all with deep compassion. Keith invites us to join him in celebrating such great Grace.
All I can say is, Praise to a most wonderful God,
by Keith Green
I found this nugget on Wikipedia. I think it shows perspective and purpose.
And another one