Rev. Dr. Jalene Chase
Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog
The song by Three Dog Night called “Joy to the World” was released in 1971. Most people know it by its first line, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.” I remember hearing people happily singing the first stanza and chorus, loudly, with varying levels of musical talent and sobriety. It has a catchy toon, has whimsical lyrics, and was fun to sing.
“Jeremiah was a Bullfrog. Was a good friend of mine. Never understood a single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine. And he always had a mighty fine wine. Singing joy to the world. All the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea, joy to you and me.”
Would it surprise you to read that some thought the song refers to Jeremiah in the Bible? As an avid reader of the Bible, I find that interesting. Wikipedia (yes, I like it) said that one of the members said the original lyrics was “Jeremiah was Prophet,” but they couldn’t record that. Speaking from my faith tradition, Jeremiah spent a lot of time talking to people who weren’t listening. Like the bullfrog, he made his plea, but humans didn’t understand or believe or just ignored Jeremiah, until it was too late. That matches up to lack of understanding. It also seems that wine was the beverage of choice at many occasions throughout the Bible. There were people whose job included tasting the wine before their leader drank it. Another checkmark. It was also a time that people wanted to unify and find peace. Peace must include ALL boys and girls regardless of the many thing others use to separate us. When we include everyone and everything, like fish, in the quest for peace, “JOY" is a favorable outcome. Using fish to make a point, like two fish or a whale in the Bible, is a great example of inclusion. Checkmark. I can’t speak about the rest of the lyrics, but I like the idea of coming together for the simple pleasure of finding JOY.
As a pastor, I spend my time making correlations between life then and now. I often wonder what the world would be like if we valued ALL creation. Maybe we would be better stewards of the land, air, sea, and people, all people, equally. We can use some of that off-key, joyous singing today. It seems like the chaos of Jeremiah’s time is resurfacing; a virus had us scrambling because we weren’t prepared; politics are still politics. If those comments intrigues or confuses you, let’s talk. We can also include a conversation about Easter not being about the Easter Bunny. You can find me and others of like-mindedness at Emmanuel UMC. Come share your thoughts with us. We have a non-traditional worship time, 9:45am Sundays. We are intentional about including the cultures that worship with us. We have a nursery and a sign language interpreter available during worship. You can learn about us on our webpage www.eumcbeltsville.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/groups/EUMCBeltsville/. Until next time:
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