Tag Archives: Woodstock

The Ultimate High

Read John 20:19-22

“These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that” (Acts 2:15, NLT).

Recently I have been vibing (forgive the 60s language as I am running a 60s themed worship series and it’s been infectious) to some great classic rock. Everything from one of my favorite bands, The Doors, to Funkadelic, to Pink Floyd, to John Lennon, the Beatles, and everything in between. I also have been taking my time through the three hour and forty-four minute film, Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music. That film, as it turns out, is a documentary-styled collection of video interviews, live perfoormances, and media coveage of the iconic 1969 music festival of peace, love, music, drugs, sex and…well…MUD.

As I have been watching that, I have been really blown away by what a time capsule that film is. The viewer is instantly transported from the era in which they are watching it and transported to the summer of 1969 in Upstate NY, an hour or so away from where I am currently living and serving. In attendance, there were an estimated 400,000 people and, as everyone knows, happy, chaotic revelry ensued.

Of course, it is never enough for me to just chill and vibe to music. That would be a novel idea, right? Nope, instead, I have to put serious thought into things. For me, the experience was no longer about the music, but about the philosophy behind the music. Here were a bunch of youngsters (the millennials or later of the 60s) who thought that they could change the world by doing things their way, telling the man (aka the government and authority) where to go, and expanding their consciousness of self and the cosmos through mind altering drugs.

When the adults pushed back, the youngsters rebelled. Woodstock was one of a plethora of displays of civil disobedience, where the youth created a counter-cultural movement through music. People were making love wherever they laid, drugs were being smoked, Joe Cocker air guitared to what was ultimately a Beatles song, Joan Baez introduced the world to her unborn baby, and everyone was crying out to give peace a chance.

So, you may be wondering why a pastor is talking about Woodstock at all, let alone what went on there. Well, the answer is simple…because that era has MAJORLY influenced the American culture as well as Western culture altogether. Think about it, right now I am typing this devotion the beautiful garden state of New Jersey. In November of 2020, a large majority of the state voted to legalize recreational use of Marijuana…a law that will have a major impact in minority communities that suffer high rates of incarceration over marijuana and other low-level offenses.

Since Proposition 215 was passed in California in 1996, thirty-six states, four out of five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized it as a medical treatment for specific conditions. Out of those thirty-six states, 17 states and the District of Columbia and legalized recreational use. Of course, so has Canada Mexico, Amsterdam, Uruguay, South Africa, Georgia (country), and Guam among some others. What’s more, people’s attitudes toward it have become more lax than it is toward alcohol, tobacco, and certainly opioid use.

CBD stores are popping up everywhere and, truth be told, I have benefited from CBD use. CBD are the healthy cannabinoid properties found in the hemp plant, which has very low THC content, therefore, it is no different than hops in beer. In fact, the hops plant is a cannabis plant. Ironic, no?

But why, again, am I talking about cannabis, Woodstock, the ‘60s, free-love or any of those seemingly non-Christian things. Again, a plant cannot be “non-Christian” as God made the cannabis plant as much as God made everything that is. But, to answer the question, I am writing of this because of the irony of the 60s generation and the connection between that time and our time today.

First, it goes without saying that while the Baby Boomers of the 60s did revolutionize the world and many changes (for better or for worse) followed. With that said, what happened to all of that peace and love? What happened to that kind new world that the drugs and the music were going to create? Let’s be honest, it was that same generation that supported a male chauvinistic, patriarchal, greedy, crooked, dishonest, deceitful, and dangerous autocrat for president. Many within the same generation that pushed for peace, love, and inclusion, were shouting “lock her up”, “build that wall”, “go home”, “we don’t want you here,” “kung flu”, “China Virus” and many, many other things in support of their candidate.

So, clearly all of the drugs, sex, and rock and roll did not stop them from becoming just like the adults before them. Today, we see a resurgence in the use of the cannabis plant and I, for one, think that responsible, moderate use to help with cancer, anxiety, depression, pain, IBS, and other issues is an okay thing. Surely, we wouldn’t fault a cancer patient for using chemo or other treatments, why should we for cannabis? Science thus far has shown there to be medicinal benefits to the plant.

Still, a plant-derived substance is not the ultimate answer to the human condition. It be used supplementally just like any homeopathic remedy; however, what plagues the human soul goes beyond anything any plant, drink, substance, music, medicine, or whatnot can handle. The human soul is mired in sin, a condition brought on by human selfishness that led to a turning away from God. The only answer to that condition is Jesus Christ.

Not only is it possible to get “high” on Jesus Christ, it happen to me all the time. Why? Because worship helps us to release endorphins, giving us a feeling of euphoria. Who doesn’t appreciate feeling good and, truth be told, those endorphins really do the trick! God’s design and all…God is great, right?!?!

That is why worship is such a vital part of our spiritual lives! It helps to pick us up and carry us through the week. The “high” inspires and motivates us to engage in mission and ministry, and pushes us to living out Christ’s teachings in and example in our lives. Friends, I challenge you today to find yourself a community of people who will let you discover your own relationship with and connection to God. Such a place is the perfect place to worship, be fed, and be sent out to do the feeding.

It is possible to get high on Jesus Christ. Indeed. But wait till you meet the Holy Spirit. What a trip!

Lord, help me to further depend on you so that I might be an example of whatit means to be truly in relationship with you. Amen.