I have to write a blog about the epic song, “American Pie” which reached the No. 1 spot on the charts back in 1972. It is in the news recently because the lyrics were sold at auction for $1.2 million. Don McLean has now begun to explain some of the meaning behind his song. I was a youth director in a large suburban church in the Twin Cities in 1972. Like so many others, in those days, I shared my interpretation to the song as I worked with teenagers, seeking answers to their troubled lives through scripture and a relationship with Jesus, Those were the days of the “Jesus Movement,” when we had a revival among the youth our Lutheran church
For me the most important lyrics were near the end of the song: “I went down to the sacred store/Where I’d heard the music years before/But the man there said the music wouldn’t play – And in the streets, the children screamed/The lovers cried and the poets dreamed/But not a word was spoken/The church bells all were broken – And the three men I admire most/The Father, Son and Holy Ghost/They caught the last train for the coast/the day the music died.”
Men, in my humble opinion these were indeed prophetic words. McLean wants people in 2015 to know that his song was not a “parlor game.” “Basically in ‘American Pie’ things are heading in the wrong direction,” McLean wants us to know. “It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right, but it is a morality song in a sense.” At almost 70, McLean believes, “There is no poetry and very little romance in anything anymore, so it is really like the last phase of ‘American Pie,'” which ends with “This’ll be the day that I die.” I interpret this to mean, a quiet desperation is settling into the soul of America.
I remember well quoting II Tim 4:3-4 to those kids during our revival time. I was a young 30 year old pastor in my first church. I wanted them to be anchored in the word of God not popular culture. Sadly some of those young people, who were part of the “Jesus Movement” are no longer following Jesus. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead , to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears wants to hear.” The Message says, “…people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food – catchy opinions that tickle their fancy.”
It could be some of men reading this blog were part of the “Jesus Movement” back in the 70’s. I know the song brings back a lot of memories for me. I was blessed to be a part of a genuine revival among youth in Edina, Mn. I will never forget those days of the sovereign move of God’s Spirit. I also am thankful in retrospect that I believed, taught and pleaded with the kids to stay true to God’s Word. Over forty years later, I say again, “keep your heart open to Jesus and the truth of his Word. Scripture is your anchor, compass and light during these times. I often quoted Is 55:11 as a promise to which we can cling. “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Thank you Jesus, for helping me to cling to your word all these years. Amen