Lessons learned under a clear blue Colorado sky

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Easter Sunday is over, and now we are moving on to Mother’s Day, graduations, baseball games and end-of-school parties.    

However, before we get lost in the launch of May, I must tell you about what I found during Easter under a blue Colorado sky. 

Home for my adult son is the mile-high city of Denver.  It is where a cloudless azure sky envelops the snowcapped Rockies which sparkle in bright sunlight.  Every visit, I am never sure if it is the altitude or the beauty which takes my breath away.    

During our long Easter weekend, we traveled to Boulder, home to the University of Colorado.  We strolled the brick mall streets downtown where tulips and manicured perfection replace cars. Street performers fill the air with vibrations from guitars, fiddles, and folk songs.

It is a lively scene dominated by young folks sporting a bit of a hippie vibe. Boulder today reminds me of a university town in the late 1960s, albeit with better restaurants and shops. Also, instead of barefooted, long-haired 60’s hippie members, this generation wore sneakers and hair in all colors. Groovy!

The hippies I once knew spread flowers and peace. Some protested, experimented with drugs, and listened to rock music splashed with defiance.

Our parents’ generation was labeled the “establishment” who often believed the world would eventually be doomed by these errant Baby Boomers. 

“Their music is horrific, they are all druggies, they are not true Americans!” The establishment shouted as the chants of the hippies rose to drown out adverse reactions to their culture.    

Most every generation believes the next generation is never going to be as accomplished as they are and declare the country is going “down the tubes” by the behavior of irresponsible, crazy kids.    

Anybody remember our parents not allowing the boys to wear long hair?  Anyone recall the moms and dads condemning the gyrations of Elvis or the mania the Beatles produced? 

Well, I wore bell bottoms, owned Elvis albums, and who of you didn’t watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan if you are a Baby Boomer? The long-haired hippie boy of the ‘60s is now CEO of some company somewhere, and the flower child girl at Woodstock is now a grandmother after starting her own company in the ‘70s. 

On Easter Sunday, we walked into the Highlands United Methodist Church in Denver.  The air was crisp, the sky again brightly blue, and frankly, it closely resembled a time forty years ago when my little boy wore a seersucker suit and carried his Easter basket to church.

Since church attendance is declining and younger folks are not participating as much in services across our land, I wondered what I would see since I was no longer in the Bible belt of America.

We took our seats in old wooden pews where I noticed among the usual Bibles and Methodist hymnals were children’s storybooks.  I thought it was a bit odd, but after a few moments, I understood.

Many children escorted by parents noisily ran toward their seats.  Toddlers were dressed in Easter colors of blue, pink, yellow, and purple.  Siblings with disheveled hair and infants cradled in their parents’ arms filled every seat in the church.

Finally, the sanctuary was filled with song, babies crying, children jabbering and smiles. The 1960’s hippie was now the grandparent, sitting beside the once college student who today is the parent of the child asking his daddy to read the book he pulled from the back of the pew.

The young minister, wearing a peach-colored Easter blazer, enthusiastically stood to welcome all.  After old Easter hymns were sung, he then delivered a rip-roaring happy sermon filled with the word of God and celebration for the risen Lord.

The world isn’t doomed because young folks listen to rap music instead of the Beatles or Guns N’ Roses.  America isn’t lost because a newbie hippie is dressed in ragged khakis with purple hair and rings in his nose.

I found hope and solace in witnessing the return of young families to worship the Lord. Another generation will pass on to the next the word of God. As I studied the congregation, I am pretty sure the grandmother in front of me once wore a flower in her hair, and the toddler’s father once followed the Grateful Dead.

No, the world isn’t doomed if we continue to pass our faith forward so  the five-year-old boy in the seersucker suit and his little sister may one day return to find hope in the church under a blue Colorado sky.