What would you do if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me ?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
The original song was written by the Beatles but the version I remember was sang by Joe Cocker. It was the theme song for The Wonder years which is one of my all time favorite shows! The story is about Kevin Arnold who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. The fact that he was one year older than me in the story helped me to relate to many of the episodes and similar things I went through. All of the episodes were about Kevin and how he remembered the times of his life and his memories of his mom, dad, and his brother Wayne who was two years older. Kevin also had a sister who went off to college and was written off the show.
One of my favorite episodes was called “The Lost Weekend.” It was in the fifth season and Kevin was a sophomore in high school. Wayne at that time was a senior. Their parents were going to go away for the weekend to an out of town wedding. They left the boys to watch the house and to do the chores their father assigned. No sooner had they pulled out of the driveway Wayne informed Kevin that he had other plans. He was going to a Beer Keg party that night and his Saturday was also booked too. On one hand Kevin was upset with Wayne that he was ditching him. On the other hand Kevin thought of the possibilities of having the whole house to himself. At school that day he mentioned to his four main friends during lunch that he had the house to himself. Right away a couple of his adventurous friends suggested that they should do something. After all how often would this opportunity come up? Kevin was doubtful until his best friend Paul mentioned that if Kevin didn’t want to do anything that was fine. Kevin had a responsibility to his parents. In typical Kevin style that statement was what tipped him over the edge. When Paul made a goody two shoes statement Kevin usually went in the other direction. “We could do something”, he stated and suggested a poker game.
That night after about an hour of dull poker playing everyone was getting bored. Someone suggested that they should invite some girls over. Kevin agreed to the plan as long as everyone just invited one girl. When the girls arrived they were not alone. They had invited friends to come with them. Apparently they also spread the news that there was a party at Kevin’s house! It didn’t take long before people were at Kevin’s door that he didn’t even know. They made their way in and in no time Kevin was throwing the biggest party he had ever seen. Kevin’s friend Chuck called Kevin from a local store where he had apparently forgot his I.D. He was attempting to buy beer and Kevin brought his I.D. to him. It turned out that the I.D. was a fake and Chuck wasn’t allowed to buy the beer. As Kevin was yelling at Chuck for this whole mess they overheard a hippy group in the parking lot talking about a big party they were going to. Some kid named Arnold they said which was Kevin’s last name. The last person left the party at 4 in the morning and the house was totally a mess. Empty beer cans, spilled drinks, pictures askew, messy food items everywhere, cigarette butts, and whatever else you can think filled the house when the party was over. When Wayne came home later that day he laughed at his brothers mess. “Boy are you in big trouble”, he chuckled. “Wayne, you have to help me clean up this mess,” Kevin pleaded.
As Wayne was laughing about Kevin’s statement their parents pulled into the driveway. Apparently they decided to come home a few hours early. As his parents were discovering the destruction of their beloved home Kevin was contemplating what punishment they would find worthy of his deed. His father surprisingly turned to Wayne. “Wayne how could you?” When Kevin tried to speak up his father was quick to reprimand him. “Kevin, you stay out of this!” To his credit Wayne took the fall. He didn’t blame Kevin, he just told his parents that he was sorry and it would never happen again.
In Luke chapter 15 the younger of two sons requested his inheritance. He was going to find out what he was missing, live it up at the world’s party and have fun! Unlike Kevin, he was inviting the party and the more the merrier. After a while all of his high living had caught up with him. He was out of money and the party was over. As long as he was the life of the party and financed it he was one popular guy. After the money was gone everyone left in search of the next fool to come their way. Kevin also felt the same way after his party. All that was left after everyone departed was a mess. Nobody cared whose party it was, only that there was a party and they were happy to go. When the night was done everyone was happy except Kevin and eventually his parents. The prodigal as he is referred to in the Bible found himself making a living feeding pigs. At that point he came to his senses. Even the workers for my father live much better than I am. I will go home to my father and tell him I am not worthy to be his son. I will ask for a job working the fields with the other workers. When he was still far away his father saw him and came running to meet him. The prodigal son tried to explain that he was unworthy but his father heard none of it! Get the fattest calf and kill it. We are going to celebrate. My son was dead but now he is alive! He was going to have a party in his sons honor! This is like how our Father in Heaven feels about us! He wants to have a party for us once we come to our senses and come back home!
The son’s brother was not happy about the situation. He found out from one of his fathers servants that his brother was getting a party. The brother was bitter and jealous and hateful. He decided that he would not honor his brother with his presence. Instead he stayed away and when his father noticed he was not there he came looking for him. The brother was bitter and his father told him how it was. “My son was dead but now is alive”, he said. We are never told whether the brother took his fathers words to heart and attended his brothers party. If he did he would have had to have a change of attitude and his hatred turned to love. Everyone at that party wanted to be there because they loved the father and were celebrating his sons return with him!
So the question I ask you today is which party are you going to? Are you going to the world’s party where you are the life of the party until it destroys your house? In that party nobody cares and everyone will quickly leave when your resources diminish. On the other hand you could be going to God’s party. That is a party where you are celebrated not by what resources you have but because you have made your way back home! God’s party is a party of love. God has already paid for your party and everyone there loves you! In that party you are the guest of honor! In answer to the songs lyrics God will never stand up and walk out on us because we have sang out of tune. He loves us and welcomes us home no matter what we do. It is true that sometimes we get by with a little help from our friends. God puts good friends in our lives to help us see his light in troubling situations. However we find out from these stories that sometimes the people that we think are our friends are only our fair weather friends. Sometimes it is our own brothers or sisters that let us down. When the chips are down they may scatter far away. Whatever the weather is like in our lives God is waiting to have a party for us! It is a party of love in our honor and he is delighted to throw it because we were once dead but now we are alive!