Last night I was thinking about what I might want to write about today. Memory was the topic. Then one of my most powerful memories was triggered.
My sister left me a message. Larry Norman is dead. To the two or three people who read this posting, the name may not sound familiar. But this individual has played a pivotal roll in my life.
We all have labels that define us. In my growing up years, I had a number of religious labels Christian, Pentecostal, AG. These labels affected the way I perceived the larger world. God. God was an grouchy if not down right mean force to be reckoned with. He was constantly watching my every move. The slightest infraction would cause him to reject me. At any moment he was coming to get his followers. Everyone else would burn in a place called Hell for all eternity. Depending on the day of the week, I might be a sinner or a saint. The best I could hope for was that He would come at an opportune moment and I would be spared.
I constantly felt like an outsider in my own subculture.
Then one day my sister told me about a rebel singer named Larry Norman whose albums had been banned from many Christian bookstores. My faith was never quite the same. My paradigm had totally changes. I was no longer a Christian or a Pentecostal; I was a follower of Jesus.
Larry’s musicianship and production quality were not always the greatest, but I knew his core. I knew he was best friends with Jesus. He made me want to know Jesus better. I saw him in concert about 5 times. I always walked away in silence or in tears. One of the things he said in concert (when I was 15) has stuck to me to this day. “You don’t go to heaven because you are good. You do not go to hell because you are bad. You go to heaven because you asked.” Jesus just wants to be with me. I get that.
Whenever I go through a hard time, I listen to his song “Let the Rain Fall.”
Larry never had an easy life, but it was a life well lived. And now he is with his best friend. I hope to hang out with some day.
“Let this good life be the life we lead. Let our faith grow like a mustard seed. And let your love be all the love we need to carry us all the way home.” –Larry Norman