by Bob Wickizer

Rev. Bob Wickizer
John 6:4-15
April 2, 2000

Shortly after the first Woodstock music festival in 1969 the rock group "Crosby, Stills and Nash" recorded a song titled "Woodstock" preserving the memory of that event in religious and mythic imagery.

Let me read to you some excerpts from the lyrics written by Joni Mitchell.

"Well I came upon a child of God ...
He told me ...
I've got to get back to the land
And set my soul free.

Well then, can I walk beside you?
...I feel myself a cog
In something turning

And maybe it's the time of year
And maybe it's the time of man
And I don't know who I am
But life is for learning.

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song
And a celebration.

{Refrain} We are stardust
We are golden
We are caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden."

Now some folks may object that Woodstock in 1969 involved widespread use of controlled substances and that what was unique about Woodstock was created by drug-induced euphoria. But let's look at some of the miracles in this story. First of all a half-million people gathered peacefully on a few hundred acres. The festival planners had only counted on fifty thousand or less. The first ten thousand or more to arrive actually used paid tickets to gain admission but as the day wore on, tens and hundreds of thousands of people streamed onto this farm in upstate New York. After overwhelming the ticket takers, the festival planners simply opened the gates and let everybody in for free. The three-day music festival of the largest crowd ever assembled for popular music actually failed to turn a profit.

While drug use at Woodstock was undeniable, the people who gathered in the rain for three days celebrated the triumphs of a decade of civil rights protest and anti-war activism. They celebrated a new order where black and white, young and old, wealthy and poor all camped out together ...

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