Jimi Hendrix & Bumper Sticker Theology

While driving in Cary yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker that said:

When the power of love / overcomes the love of power / the world will know peace.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I hadn’t heard (or registered) the quote before, so I wondered where it came from. I thought it might be from any variety of sources. I figured it was just a clever something someone had come up with for bumper stickers. I figured it was probably “new-agey.”

Jimi Hendrix.
Image via Wikipedia

I decided to check. As it turns out, the quote is attributed to Jimi Hendrix. Now, audiophile that I am, I am ashamed I did not recognize it.

Regardless of the origin, there is a solid nugget of truth here. As individuals, we love control. We want to have the power to determine our own paths. I once heard it expressed that our true prayer is “My kingdom come, my will be done” rather than the words taught by Christ. From the days in the Garden of Eden, we have loved power, control, and the idea that we could somehow control our own destinies.

Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t work that way. One of the great themes of the Bible is God’s sovereignty.

But, out of his sovereignty, his great love for us was demonstrated through Christ. As Christians, we are told to die to self, to take up our cross, and to follow Jesus.

So let’s try to rephrase the original quote: when the power of God’s love (expressed in the sacrifice of Christ) overcomes our own love of power and control (deciding to follow him), we can demonstrate God’s peace to the world around us (regardless of circumstance).

So maybe the “extended version” doesn’t quite fit on a bumper sticker. And maybe there’s not a cool Hendrix guitar riff in the background. But that’s what the bumper sticker I saw yesterday said to me.

And I still like it. Rock on, Jimi.

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