The Community United Presbyterian Church

 

                          

“Jesus is Just Alright with Me”

   It is hard to believe that we could sleep with the windows open tonight and the brisk 56 degrees calls for us to bundle in our down comforter.  Schools are beginning again and the change of seasons seems to beckon childhood memories to unfold like daydreams. Fall was always my favorite season - a paradox of endings and beginnings. It is the colors of change before the monotone white of the winter to come. It makes me recall the seasons of my life—seasons of which I once only anticipated and dreamed.

   One of the most memorable times of my youth is always triggered when and old Doobie Brother’s song comes on the radio. With the new school year came cross country practice, and being children of Appallachian Hills that we were, we would run through the woods on dirt trails carpeted in colored leaves—and we were young, and we were  free—breathing deep the crisp autumn air. These were long runs of 7 to 9 miles and they took some time, but every now and then, we would

 

                     hear the music through the trees always the same 8 track tape of the Doobie Brothers—often, the same song on repeat—”Jesus is Just Alright with Me”  As the music grew louder, we began to look for our coach’s pale blue and rust VW Beetle parked  on the shoulder of some intersecting back road. He would bring us water and encouragement. And sometimes, if he thought we were moving a bit slow, we might have to chase the Bug—A car we later discovered was light enough for a few of us to carry and small enough to fit through the double doors of the High School Gym before a game. Our coach was good natured and a solid Christian. We never gave the song a second thought  because they just seemed to belong together—a funky Christian song, a rusting VW Bug, and our coach.

    Over the years, some people have wondered about the phrase “just alright”  But this song has a long history behind it. It was first recorded by the gospel group, “The Art Reynolds Singers” on their 1966 album, “Tellin It Like It Is”  Then in 1969, the Byrds covered it on their album “Ballad of Easy Rider”, where it charted at 97. The original was played on an acoustic piano.  The Byrds electrified the song, adding guitar and increasing the tempo.

    A year later, the Underground Sunshine covered the song. Then in 1972, the Doobie Brothers recorded it for their album Toulouse Street, with the song reaching 35. Through The Doobies’ version followed the Bryds, in the very middle, Doobie guitarist Pat Simmons preaches the vocals.

    Though the verses are repetitive and the words are simple, it’s a song that spoke to a new generation by bringing Christianity a little closer to where they were at during that time. The words were non-threatening  and down to earth.

  Jesus is just alright with me, I don’t care what they  may know Jesus, He’s my friend;             I don’t care what they may say I don’t care where they may go Jesus, He’s my friend              I don’t care what they may do I don’t care what they may know He took me by the hand;          I don’t care what they may say Jesus is just alright… Led me far from this land                     Jesus is just alright .. Jesus He’s my friend                  

Jesus is just alright with me…

It defends Christian faith in the rebellions tone of the times, while echoing the Exodus story and the children’s song—”What a Friend We Have in Jesus” . Bill Payne, the pianist from Little Feet, worked on the breakout with Pat Simmons, and incorporated a classic Hammond B3 Organ.

The message in this song is clearly about Jesus’ love for us—and reciprocally, our love for Jesus. Many groups have recorded this song since: DC Talk in 1992, Stryper in 2003, even Robert Randolph & Eric Clapton.

“Just all-right” was originally a slang term meaning “cool”. Jesus is cool with me. Now that I look back on these memories as a adult, I think that this was my coach’s own way of proclaiming his faith to all who could hear. It created a positive and lasting memory.

I can truly say, Jesus is just alright with me.

God Bless You, Grafton

 

  

WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND OUR CHURCH  

  • September 3: Labor Day
  • September 8: Community Safety Day- Community Center  12-3 PM
  • September 9: Worship returns to 11 AM
  • September 10—8 weeks: Bible Study, Mondays, at 10 AM
  • September 16: Sunday School resumes at 10 AM, for all ages from 3 yrs. to Adults
  • September 23: Hunger Walk & Unity Picnic and Music at Keystone State Park,           Registration 1:30 , Walk begins at 2 PM, Pot Luck Picnic at 3 PM
  • October 20: Rise Against Hunger Food Packing 10AM—12 PM

 

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