The Hunter/Garcia lyricist and songwriter combo were incredibly dynamic. Although both are gone, certainly much of their music carries on across generations. The other day I was thinking of their tune, “Standing on the Moon,” one of many of my favorites.
Here are some lyrics excerpts. “Standing on the moon I’m feeling so alone and blue. I see the Gulf of Mexico as tiny as a tear. The coast of California must be somewhere over here. Standing on the moon I see the battle rage below. I see the soldiers come and go. I see all of Southeast Asia. I can see El Salvador. I hear the cries of children and the other songs of war. I hear a cry of victory and another of defeat.”
While I don’t want to presume what Robert Hunter was getting at, to me these words have rung true since the song was first performed by the Grateful Dead. Sadly, we continue to live in a world in which we have lost perspective, God’s perspective. To God, we are all one, every single one of us on this small blue dot in the universe. The distinctions we make, we fight over, we in fact kill over, are not the ones God makes.
As I sit watching a few minutes of news, knowing full well that political parties are incapable of speaking the simple truth, as people are marginalized because of color, orientation, religion, and economic status, and as children are slaughtered on the Gaza strip, I often feel like I am “standing on the moon feeling so alone and blue.”
With each passing year in life as I continue on my journey following Jesus as best I can, I know down to my bone marrow that the divisions, attitudes, stances, postures, beliefs, and actions that create an “us and them” mentality and worse, is the antithesis of how God wants things to be.
Although I cannot affect things on the macro level, I, we, can each decide not to feed or contribute to building fences and walls of hatred with others. We can relate to each person as unique, knowing that all people are made in the image of God, that all people are God’s beloved, and that all people are precious to God. I believe we are each called by God to such a stance as we relate to people in our daily lives. Anything else, frankly, is not a position of being faithful to our Creator.
I know all too well that over my 61 years I have not treated all people as God’s cherished beings. For that I am sorry. With that in mind, I feel at this point in my life, a dramatic shift is called for within me. I believe I am called to work, however imperfectly, to see people as God does. I also know that when I am moving away from seeing everyone in front of me as God’s beloved, I need to picture myself on the moon “hearing the cries of children and other songs of war.”
While I may be far from Gaza and Israel, although I may be removed from the massive challenges people of color face in our country, despite the fact I have food and clean water, and even though the countless other problems of the world are not part of my immediate story, I know that I cannot pretend such things are not my problem. They are my problem and they are my problem because human beings, all human beings, matter to God.