It was the best-selling single of his career, a career shortened by an assassin’s bullet in 1980. Written and performed by John Lennon, the song soared up the charts to critical acclaim. Many agreed with this assessment: “Its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisiveness of religions and nationalities, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions.”
“Imagine there’s no heaven; it’s easy if you try.
No hell below us; above us only sky.
Imagine all the people living for today …
Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too
Living life in peace …
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
(copyright: Lenono Music)
There is more to the song. It suggests a world without greed or hunger or pain. It’s a dream.
One day the dream will come true, John. Probably not how you imagined it. We humans have made a mess of things because we’re sinners. And that’s where you missed the point. We cannot fix it by ourselves.
We featured an old hymn in worship yesterday: “This is My Father’s World.” In the last verse are these words: “O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. The battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.”
What you wished for, John, is possible because of what Christ did for you, and me, and all the world you sang about.
More people know your song than the one Maltbie Babcock wrote. His lyrics were published in 1901 after his death at age 42. His original text concluded with: “This is my Father’s world, why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!”
Yes, John, there is much wrong in this world. But there is something more powerful than all the pain and misery and inequity and prejudice because there is Someone more powerful than sin and evil and death. I think you know that now.