Full disclosure: “Here Comes the Sun” is one of my favorite songs. I like the music, I like the words, and I love the message of hope that it gives. It’s had a special place in our family over the years as we’ve shared it with each other on a few occasions. Recently, I came across a performance of the song by a flash mob at an unemployment office in Madrid. You can find it on YouTube as well as some other places.
At the time it was shot (early 2013) unemployment in Madrid was around 25%, with about half of the people under 25 out of work. The previous year had seen almost a million people lose their jobs. To say that times were tough and the people were in need of a little hope and cheer would be like saying that a fat duck waddles. If you watch the video, you’ll see how the performance lifts their spirits. Some start singing along, others get their phones out to record it, and some just listen and smile—good music has an inherently uplifting quality about it.
After I watched it a few times, I scrolled down to read the comments. Most of them expressed appreciation, pleasure, and joy at this inspiring scene. Of course, there are always a few contrarians who will look for the negative in any situation as if there’s some kind of reward for it. One person grouched that it was “kind of mean to tease these people that there is hope when no jobs exists.” Another critic was even more extreme and called it “immensely cruel.”
But only the myopic feel the need to see it this way. Everyone else understands that singing a song is not intended to be a substitute for a job. It is more like visiting a friend in the hospital. Your visit can’t and isn’t intended to replace the quality medical care your friend is in need of, but that doesn’t make it meaningless, “cruel” or “mean.” People need more than the high tech of the latest, greatest medicine or machine—they need high touch of someone who cares.
And what if, for even just a moment, the singing in Madrid was able to lift the people’s spirits and put some hope in their hearts? And what if the memory (and recording) of their performance helps sustain such hope? Isn’t that the way we’re supposed to look at things like this? Rather than seeing them for what they aren’t—shouldn’t we see them for what they are?
Mark tells the story in his gospel of a woman who broke open a jar of expensive oil and anointed Jesus. There were critics there who were indignant and “rebuked her harshly” (14:4-5). Christ’s response to them was to “leave her alone . . . she has done a beautiful thing to Me” (v. 6).
All of this makes leaves me wondering not about the rightness of such deeds, but about what would happen if all of us, either as individuals or as groups, got over our inhibitions, anxieties, or whatever it is that holds us back, and decided to break open our jar?