“I’d better just start getting with God, preparing”

October 10, 2011

As I’ve written about elsewhere, I admire George Harrison. He was one-quarter of the greatest band ever, an excellent slide guitarist, and a creative musician and songwriter in his own right. I also admire him because of his stubborn unwillingness to check his religious faith at studio door. Not that he didn’t enjoy some commercial success—as an ex-Beatle, how could he not?—but his overtly religious songs hampered his ability to top the charts.

Harrison, a nominal Catholic growing up, converted to Hinduism. Unlike many of his fellow rock stars in the ’60s, he didn’t merely dabble in eastern religion, he embraced it wholeheartedly.

George Harrison

In 1999, a couple of years before he succumbed to cancer after a long battle, Harrison was stabbed in his bedroom one night by an intruder. A new HBO documentary about George called George Harrison: Living in the Material World, directed by Martin Scorsese, makes clear just how close Harrison came to becoming the second Beatle to be murdered.

I don’t subscribe to HBO, and I haven’t seen the new film, but in this Vanity Fair article, George’s wife Olivia describes the event and its aftermath.

It was while they sat together in the hospital, receiving treatment and processing the horror they had just endured, that George shared with Olivia what had gone through his mind during the attack. “He told me that his mind focused on letting go, leaving his body in the way that hewanted to go,” Olivia said. “He thought that he was being murdered, and he didn’t want to die on someone else’s terms. He told me, ‘I was lying there, thinking, I can’t believe this is happening! Well, I’d better just start getting with God, preparing.’”

I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). I’m also reminded of a prayer from our United Methodist Book of Worship for funeral services. One petition asks that we would learn to live as a people who are prepared to die.

Easier said than done, I know. But isn’t that a worthy goal for living a Christian life? How much of our daily routine would have to change if it were?

One Response to ““I’d better just start getting with God, preparing””

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    Brent, I certainly am “ready to die” at any time. However, there are just as certainly moments at which I would be quite embarassed if I had to face Jesus having just done THAT!

    As for Harrison, while he may have had some traits worth admiring, the tragedy is he realy was NOT “ready to die,” because he was not “prepared to meet his Maker,” as having never subscribed to the truth faith.


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