Can I Walk Beside You?
Come together! was the cry that became a Movement in the 60s.
It was in the heart of a whole generation and fueled by
a desire for a love we sensed was possible and a justice
we knew the world needed. Woodstock in 1969 offered the
hope that people could actually come together and love one
another, caring for each other, sticking together like glue,
being loyal friends and lovers forever. Something basic
in the human spirit was ignited to motivate a generation
of young people to abandon the status quo and strike out
to find the elusive dream of love.
This desire for a life of love that would change the world and
bring justice to all mankind didnt start with the
beautiful flower children of the 60s, although thats
the way it seemed at the time. In fact, people have longed
for love and justice for thousands of years but have never
been able to do it long enough to truly change the world.
But when the time of our destiny
came, we were unable to put into practice two basic elements of
love. To have love is to give up ones most precious
possession: the self. We failed to see that love is not
free, nor is it self-seeking.
We continue to reap the damage in our souls for the freedom we
thought we had.
We chose what to give to others and what to keep for ourselves.
Judge for yourself the condition our culture is in. Do love and
We couldnt love. We simply
couldnt lay down our own life for others every day like
true love requires.
Thats why the free love we had didnt change the world.
Thats why injustice remains twenty-five years later, with
no end in sight. Instead of being an example for the world to
follow, the Woodstock Nation has become just another wave of survivors,
trying to make the best of it until we die.
One thing we did see: we needed
to share if a revolution of love and justice were to prevail.
We scorned materialism and self-serving comforts in our quest
for a simpler, less complicated life. We didnt value security
in possessions or in the rules of the establishment. We longed
for a better way to live, free from hypocrisy and greed. We ached
to be the ones who could really do it. Many tried living communally
to put this faith into practice, but for most of us, the vision
quickly dimmed as the cost became self-evident. It was hard to
put others first. We couldnt do it. A barrier deep in our
own soul surfaced that no amount of LSD could tear down: self!
We simply couldnt get past our own
need for personal security and satisfaction. We didnt necessarily
see it so clearly at the time. What we needed was a source of
power to love in a selfless way. To be able to share everything
without retreating back to our own life with our own things was
easier said than done.
So, now in our forties with the world in our lap, what
statement does the Woodstock Nation have for humanity about
injustice? Beyond the easy exchange of our dope and our
bodies back then, how have we come together? We had our
plans for utopia, but couldnt overcome the root cause
of injustice that kept the justice we dreamed of from rolling
down like water and the righteousness like everlasting streams.
Philosophers, kings and politicians down through the ages
have tried systems of belief, government policies
and experimental lifestyles to conquer greed. Nothing has
worked because when it comes right down to it, everyone
accepts that you have to put good old number one first
and everyone lives that way.
One man proved there was a more excellent way to love. Yahshua,
the Messiah, the King above all kings, came to his people
Israel proclaiming the most radical solution to injustice
that has ever been proposed. Historian H. G. Wells called
it the most challenging and provocative call ever given
... the Kingdom of Heaven, which was
the main teaching of Jesus, ... is certainly one of the most revolutionary
doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought ... it is
clear that his teaching condemned all the gradations of the economic
system, all private wealth, and personal advantages. All men belonged
to the kingdom; all their possessions belonged to the kingdom
... Again and again he denounced private riches and the reservation
of any private life.
This man Yahshua claimed to be the Son of God and His message
of love offered a solution for injustice known as the gospel
of the kingdom. He dealt with the motivation of greed
at its root when He told all men everywhere that they ...
must give up all their own possessions
in order to follow Him and thereby be His disciple. He was
not advocating a political system that forced people to
share all that they have, like the failed experiment of
communism. Instead, He called them to follow Him, to renounce
everything and come after Him and obey His teaching. Renounce
means to give up or put aside voluntarily.
So His followers renounced everything to gain the life
He offered them. Their obedience to His words, leaving their
families, their jobs, their ambitions and desires, and giving
up all their possessions, left them with nothing of their
own lives. When they abandoned everything they had known,
He gave them His life eternal life. Together they
relied on each other, each taking care to look out for his
brothers needs, and not his own. This radical obedience
to the Master is what produced the Community described in
Acts 2 & 4 in the Bible. Giving up everything was the
catalyst for Community, and caring with each other is what
demonstrated justice to all those around them.
Such a visible witness was the only way obedience could
be demonstrated at a practical level. Thats why they
were all together and held all things in common. No one
claimed that anything he had was his own. Thus there were
no needy persons among them for all who had lands, houses
or farms would sell them, bringing the proceeds of the sale
and laying it at the apostles feet to be distributed as
each person in the Community had need.
Loving enough to give up all possessions
left the disciples on common ground with each other. It brought
them into a common life together. Radical love that gives itself
up eliminated the inevitability of rich and poor. Our Master Yahshua
had the true way to redistribute wealth. This redistribution of
wealth was administered in the Commonwealth of Israel where justice
was thereby demonstrated as a light to the nations of the world.
This demonstration of love and justice expressed the kingdom of
heaven right here on earth. Actually doing it was the undeniable
proof of their love for Him, that they were His disciples, that
they had passed out of death into life eternal life
and that they had the love of God in their hearts.
But their love soon waned and
the result was people holding on to their own lives and possessions
and justifying it, still claiming to possess eternal life. The
religious system that emerged is the Christian church many of
us drifted from or rejected in the 60s. After almost twenty
centuries, greed and hypocrisy had polluted this entire Christian
culture to the point where there was not even a remnant of the
early church experience left for us to pattern our lives after.
In fact it was seen as a mistake, only an intermediate phase.
Since that time, the early church experience has degenerated into
that we see today, making
it just another myth among many in todays society.
But what we wanted was reality
to demonstrate love and justice to a dying world. Having
eternal life is the only way true love and justice can be demonstrated.
Without it, a person cant share a common life with others.
It is because they still have their own life, they still have
security in their own possessions. This is where wealth comes
from having security in your possessions. Ask yourself
why you have possessions and youll begin to see what motivates
you, where you have your security.
But without the power to share a common life with others, what
else can you do? Everyone has to make a living, to support their
families, pay the mortgage, buy food, etc. The tendency to acquire
more than you actually need is the essence of living
for yourself. We all do it it is in human nature. You are
not alone. Self-life
is the essence of fallen human nature, and this tendency
in human nature to look out for yourself by making yourself secure
with possessions is the root of injustice. If you have your own
possessions, you will be sustained by them instead of being sustained
by the life of our Master.
The classic story that our Master
told to illustrate this universal truth is the story of the rich
young ruler who came to Yahshua asking Him what he must do to
inherit eternal life. When our Master told him that he lacked
one thing and told him to go and sell his possessions and give
them to the poor and then come and follow Him, the rich man hung
his head in sadness because he was a man of great wealth.
What did his response reveal? It showed that he couldnt
really do it. He loved his own comfortable life with its acquired
possessions more than the eternal life that he thought
was important to him. His response was much like ours when we
began to see the cost of actually coming together in the 60s.
As you can see from the timeless encounter with a young
successful man 2000 years ago, the problem has always been
paying the price. Our Master Yahshua spoke words that were
hard for the self-satisfied to hear. But the Woodstock Nation
wanted to pay the price or thought they did. At the
root of the Movement was a generation of young people quickened
by the injustice they saw, ready to take on the world to
change it forever, but who had no notion of the cost to
actually bring about a life of love and justice. For those
who were willing to pay the price, there was no trustworthy
voice to lead them. But now such a voice is being heard
and is worth paying attention to because there is a life
to back it up. It is the voice of a people living together
in a Commonwealth the nation that the sincere ones
of the Woodstock generation longed for in their hearts.
This life is breaking forth in
an entirely new social order in which the motivation
for all sharing is love. In this new environment, His love can
be perfected in the unity of the Spirit.
His love was that He laid down His life for all of us, and this
example compels His disciples to do the same in their relationships
with one another. This love is the standard of this new social
order. He gave His disciples His life and His Spirit to enable
them to demonstrate this love and justice. He had love because
He gave up himself. This makes him trustworthy to follow. He is
not a hypocrite. What a fantastic act of love He did in allowing
us to exchange our life for His. He took our old selfish lives
with all its burdens, pain and suffering and gave us His life
of love and justice to demonstrate it, proving to the world that
this Yahshua is the one true God and Savior of all mankind.
This is the Elusive Dream that we didnt find in the 60s.
Regrettably the last twenty-five years have seen many of
us pursue the dream in a much less dramatic way, travelling
down the road of self-help, the quest to perfect human nature
by self-effort. This channel has many streams and the one
which best suits the individual self is the one taken.
We still believe that love can
change the world. Our Master Yahshua is the only hope we have.
The life of love that weve found can rekindle that longing
in the soul of the Woodstock Nation. It costs everything to find
It began a year or so after Woodstock and it hasnt died
out. The flicker
is becoming a little flame. It will become a raging fire of love.
This spark is getting stronger every day, being perfected in the
unity we have together as a people. We believe it is the Movement
we were all hoping for, and now, twenty-five years later, theres
enough evidence to give us the confidence to write proclaim it
to you, the remnant of the Woodstock Nation.
What the Israelites fell away
from and never attained, what Plato could only write about, what
Aristotle could only criticize, what the early church only started,
what Karl Marx could only theorize about, what John Lennon could
only imagine and what the Woodstock Nation could only hope for,
is beginning again in our homes at the addresses below, and this
time, if were faithful, to last forever.
This actual life of justice on
earth must be demonstrated in order for our Master Yahshua
to return, and to establish His kingdom of heaven on this planet
in its fullest expression in the New Age. He will have those who
have faithfully followed Him in this age to rule with Him then,
reigning in the spirit of justice that He lived and died for so
that Gods purpose could be satisfied. Is that what your
heart still longs to be a part of?
1 Corinthians 13:5
See New Woman, Part 2
Amos 5:24 (NRSV)
H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, pp. 499-501
Acts 2:44-47; Acts 4:32-37
John 14:21,23; 13:34-35;
5:24; 1 John 3:14; Luke 14:33
Gnosticism means lacking real substance. It means having
knowledge of eternal life rather than the actual experience of a
life of love that demonstrates it. The reality of gnosticism is
believing in Jesus in your mind, but not in your heart. Modern gnosticism
today is the prominent belief of the Christrian church that says
Christs body is only mystical, that its unity is beyond mere
physical reality; a spiritual unity transcending mere flesh-and-blood
Matthew 19:21; 6:19-21
Matthew 19:23; Mark 10:23,24; Luke 18:24
See Birds of Every Feather
John 17:21-23; Colossians 3:14
John 12:25; Matthew 16:24
Flicker a little steadily-burning flame (Websters