Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul, and Mary… and if that’s not enough of a clue, google it, young’n.) died today.
And I cried about it.
I was checking out her website and the touching things that her bandmates had to say about her and was struck by the fragility of life. Do I know where Mary Travers is currently spending eternity? Nope. I didn’t know her, and only in passing listened to her music growing up. But her death reminds me that good works are not enough. She was an activist from birth. According to her wikipedia page, her parents moved to Greenwich village in NY when she was just 2 years old. She spent her entire life working for the causes of the underrepresented, the downtrodden, and the powerless.
But that’s not enough.
Again, I don’t know anything about her spiritual life, and so I am by no means pronouncing judgement on her. My concern is that people not look at her life, which was spent living for a cause, and think that causes are enough to render you acceptable to God. No amount of lobbying for abortion rights, gun control, animal rights, or racial reconciliation can get rid of the problem.
Her problem (and mine) is that we have declared war on God. We’ve said to God that he isn’t doing a good enough job, and that we could do it better. I still do it about once a day (on a particularly holy day), and Mary Travers did it too. God, being perfect, and holy, and all of the things that we aren’t, can’t just let us off the hook for our rebellion. He has to finish the war. He has to win. So, 2000 years ago, he won the war, by putting his perfect son on the front line of the rebels. He killed his son so that infidels and rebels like me could go free.
All of the things that Mary Travers fought for (freedom for oppressed people, environmental awareness, etc) are worthy of fighting for. But, until you deal with your own bankruptcy before God, you’ve still got a problem that no amount of activism can fix.
May the death of Mary Travers point us to the only cause worth fighting for.