I was thrown back a few decades on Saturday evening at an anniversary concert that brought together entertainers who have sung out for justice, peace and love in many ways over many years. What a joy know that their voices had not lost any of their power and purity and that new songs held the same integrity as the old ones did when we were all “young.” (The audience was also “of a certain age” and loving every minute of both the familiar and newly penned messages.) There is a feeling that arises during an experience like that. It is a strength in the camaraderie of common purpose and understanding, a sense of integrity that pervades the space. The feeling sparks a renewal of energy for right living, knowing that shared values for the good of the world still exist and can be expressed by raising our voices in that moment of song and remembered later when difficult situations arise.
A quote from Andrew Harvey that I read this morning amplified and clarified the message of the weekend for me. In the introduction to a chapter on Integrity in the book, One Heart: Wisdom from the World’s Scriptures, he writes the following:
How easy it is to flatter when we need something, or lie when we have to get out of a tedious obligation. Yet we all know that when we don’t follow our conscience and profoundly held beliefs, something worse than disaster or derision falls upon us: a loss of ourselves, a hemorrhage of our innermost reality that leaves us feeling empty and drained of strength and hope. We know that when we do act from our deepest conviction, whatever the cost or consequence, a sense of peace descends on us, steadying us to endure and witness anything…God’s plan for humanity is dependent upon each person having the integrity to enact his or her own deepest nature and its laws and responsibilities in the world. The failure to do this, on the deepest level, is a betrayal of God’s purpose both for oneself and for the world.
So get out those well-worn CDs (and records?) and sing!