ORANGE — There are a few songs that make me want to sing. It doesn’t matter which version I hear. The song I am thinking of is sung by the Hawaiian, called Iz. His name is Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I call him Iz. He sings in a falsetto voice, strumming his ukulele, breezy and upbeat. You have the landscaper from Washington D.C. who sang in blues bars at night. She recorded a soulful version of this song. Eva Cassidy did not know her CD had hit number one in England. Her battle with cancer took her life. Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis, and Eric Clapton have sung the song. You can find Jeff Beck on his lead guitar playing the song before a huge crowd on Youtube. Judy Garland sang it in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Some songs cannot be silenced - they live on and on, taking on a new life with each rendition.
In Acts 3 we find the account of a great miracle when Simon Peter and John went to the temple to pray. The temple entrance was called “The Beautiful Gate”. An irony because the entrance was anything but beautiful, because the steps were covered with the crippled or blind, begging for those going into the temple, to give them money. That was their charity system, there were no meal vouchers. They too could not be silenced. Peter says to the man who reached out his hand to him, “Look at Us!” Did you ever notice how many times you divert your eyes from people needing help? See someone with a sign on the street wanting help and suddenly you have to adjust the radio or make a cell phone call. You know what I mean. When you really look at someone it changes the relationship.
When Simon Peter and John really looked in the man’s eyes, they had to help. Simon said “I do not have silver or gold but what I have, I will give you.”
With that he reached down and pulled the man up and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk!” He did not just walk, he danced and leaped for joy. Today at First United Methodist Church we are having what we call “Last Blast”. We offer folks a hot dog, school supplies, underwear and socks for the children and haircuts. But better than that, we offer understanding, love and a face to face relationship to a Savior that can change lives. A new song is possible and it is a great tune.