Same Song but a Different Time

One of our church members forwarded me a music video of the 25th Anniversary of the song, “We are the World.” The original song was released on March 1985 which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie; and it was produced by the legendary Quincy Jones. In hopes of bringing awareness and also raising funds for the famine in Ethiopia, the song sold over 20 million copies (which was a lot back in 1985). The song ended up winning 3 Grammy Awards, a American Music Award and a People’s Choice Award – it was hit.

In light of the earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12th 2010, an incredible collection of artists were gathered together to remake the “We are the World” song on February 1st, 2010. They called the song, “We are the World 25 for Haiti.”

As I watched it on YouTube, it brought back a lot of memories because I grew up with the original song in my teenage years. Then I started thinking about some parallel principles in regards to the remake of this popular song.

There are 3 lessons that I was reminded about as I watched this video:

1) RELEVANCE. The beauty of this song is that the message is the same but the packaging of it is different. If you hear the 1985 version of it and the 2010 version, there is definitely a lot more of the current hip-hop flavor. This reminded me that we always have to be culturally relevant without losing the message. If the Church fails to bring the Gospel message in a culturally relevant way, then it will fall on deaf ears. But if we are able to present the timeless truths of the Gospel in a context where people can understand their need for a Savior, then life transformation can happen.

2) RALLY. It was inspiring to see the assembly of singers in the 2010 version. I felt the same way back in 1985 when all the top artist of that time came together to rally for the needs of Ethiopia. I was just thinking how a cause or a clear purpose is able to bring various people together. If you look at the list of singers, it is a pretty good array of styles and personalities. As the church, we are one Body but there are many parts. There is something very powerful when the Body of Christ is able to come together with all its different parts to do something great for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes all we need is a rally cry. May the eternity of lost people drive us to come together as a church to reach the nations.

3) RESPONSE. Many times when we think about superstars or famous people, we get enamored by their lifestyle. But one thing we forget is that outside of their posh lifestyle and all their fame and money, they are people, who are made in the image of God. Even though we might not know their motives fully, it is good to see many of these artists giving up their time and energy to produce this song. I think about how many Christ-followers are constantly on the sidelines just watching rather than getting in the action. We use excuses of being too busy or not having enough resources to do anything about a situation. But we are called to be the salt and light of the world. This requires an active response from people who have experience the mercy and grace of God. This is why the Apostle Paul said, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Ro 12:1). May we always be enamored by God’s grace, which in turn will cause us to give generously (our time, treasure and talents) to His cause, for His glory.

Check out the 2010 version of “We are the World.” You can check out the list of singers in this song here on this page.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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