Not long ago, the international icon we know as Cher announced that she will embark on a series of concerts this year. It will be called the “Here We Go Again” tour, which apparently answers the question: What do you call a tour that comes after one you’ve called your “farewell tour”? Or in Cher’s case, tours - plural. Depending on the source, Cher has had up to 7 farewell tours.
Multiple farewell tours seem to be the thing these days for pop and rock music legends. So I wonder about Paul Simon. This past summer, Simon ended his first “farewell tour”. Whether it’s his actual farewell “farewell tour” only he knows, because as long as a large number of people are willing to pay to hear him perform his most memorable songs, another one certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Songs like “Kodachrome”, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”, “Still Crazy After All These Years” are still extremely popular after all these years.
Then of course, there’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”. Not my favorite Paul Simon song by a long shot. Actually I don’t care much for it at all. But I had a hard time finding a list of his top 10 or 15 songs that didn’t include it.
We can only hope the UCC’s latest “song” has that kind of staying power...
Toward the end of last year, our denomination, the United Church of Christ (UCC), announced an initiative called “3 Great Loves”. Its purpose is to collect and lift up stories from our churches that describe how we live out God’s love for neighbor, children and creation. As part of that initiative, the UCC produced a poster which offers not “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, but 50 Ways to Share Your Love. Suggested ways to “share your love” include things like renewing a friendship, installing water saving shower heads and LED lights; writing a note of encouragement to a teacher; and checking in on a neighbor regularly. The poster invites us to engage in one of those 50 ways each day, but more importantly, as many of them as we can on a regular basis.
You can see the poster in my office whenever you like, and a “3 Great Loves” daily calendar is available on the UCC website, www.ucc.org.
People within and outside the FCC community frequently ask what they can do to respond to what many feel is a particularly difficult time in our nation. There are no simple answers to that question, as a society’s struggles are always multi-faceted. But I do know that vital change throughout history has often been accomplished by people carrying out seemingly small acts - individually and together - that end up having a cumulative effect which makes our nation and the world a better place.
So may the song 50 Ways to Share God’s Love never end up on a farewell tour.