The day has come around once again, and those of us whose lives were impacted by the man stop and consider that George Harrison left this world on November 29, 2001. Nine years, and his influence seems to grow alongside the legacy of the group that gave him his fame and, perhaps, more heartache than his words and music could ever fully convey.
In spite of the wealth of music and adventures provided to him by The Beatles experience, most of us know how heartwrenchingly painful some of it was to the man who introduced the world to the concept of eastern music within the pop realm. Were it not for his journey, many lives might be considerably different from what they are today. Not only did he paint a picture of a spiritual journey for those embracing eastern paths of faith, but it was also the ignition for what was, in its day, known as the Jesus Movement. I have no doubts about that as I look back on it from this vantage point of passing time.
Had it not been for the turmoil and quests of the 60’s, the inexhaustible searching of an entire generation and the impact of that journey, then I doubt we would have seen the explosion of youth who headed into churches of every description. Most especially, it helped to create what is now known as Contemporary Christian Music, but was, in its day, the very core of a revolution in the pews of the world. The music was a result of the searching of the youth who survived that tumultuous decade, and their heading to a faith they saw, not as traditional, but as a source of power and comfort in a world that was fast rejecting the idealism of that period of time. The drugs had failed, and so had much of the extraneous activity that had been heralded as cures or balms for a troubled world.
So it was that, among a group of hungry and dissatisfied souls, a movement of Christian faith began to emerge out of the depths of the searching that had flowed alongside people like George Harrison. He sought a relationship with a God he had given only a passing thought to throughout most of his life. When he sang My Sweet Lord, people of various faiths and pursuits could identify with his longing for a touch from a caring God, not one whose eyes sought out whom He might destroy or hurt on the whims of diety. George made people think about what they wanted from the Almighty, and many of them turned to a faith rooted in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about George, later in his life, was his inclusion of a cross alongside the OM which was famously portrayed as part of his signature. The inclusion of two seemingly divergent paths of theology symbolizes so much of what he brought to the world through his music and his continuing search for the face of God. Whether or not one completely embraces one or the other or, like George, both of these facets of the Creator, the legacy of his contribution to the awakening of a world mired in distress and apathy about the supernatural truths of the spiritual realms remains as relevant today as when he evangelized the world with pronouncements and greetings of Hari Krishna.
As a Christian I take no offense at this, but rather tend to seek more diligently for the intertwining of histories and particles of truth that reveal the kindness and mercies of God. I would welcome another George right now, someone who has something real to say concerning his search, rather than the pursuit of something hip or trending as a substitute for real spirituality.
I miss George Harrison for many reasons; for his music and his voice in a world that he rightly perceived as running on the edge of sanity.