One of the world's most influential musicians of the rock-and-roll era was John Lennon. As a founding member of The Beatles, he rose to the pinnacle of stardom in the 1960s and 1970s, but with all its trappings too. He got caught up in drugs, womanizing, and spousal abuse to his first wife. He had a difficult and estranged relationship with his first son, Julian, who wasn't even a year old when Beatlemania took over the U.S. Julian would later admit that he felt closer to his dad's bandmate, Paul McCartney, during his early childhood years. The song Hey Jude (originally titled Hey Jules) was written by McCartney to help young Julian deal with his parents' separation.
We don't tend to think too highly of John Lennon in Christian circles thanks to the rather atheistic lyrics of the song Imagine and his oft-repeated remark that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now." Like all of us, John was a broken and sinful man, capable of truly wonderful and inspiring things yet also capable of deplorable acts. But John was also a contemplative seeker capable of self-reflection and change. Often, we need the encouragement of others in order to truly change.
In 1976, John was meeting regularly with a small group of men. It's unclear if these men held strong religious convictions, but they confided in each other, challenged each other, and walked through life together. In one of the meetings, two questions were asked that changed the trajectory of John's life: What is the biggest hole in your heart? And, If money weren't an issue, what would you do? When it came time for John to answer, he admitted that his closest relationships weren't healthy, and that he regretted missing out on being a father. When his men's group pressed further, they encouraged John to take these concerns seriously and discuss them with his second wife, Yoko Ono. What followed was a nearly five-year hiatus from the music industry while John raised his second son, Sean. For the next several years leading up to the time of his murder, John Lennon poured into young Sean's life and was the most famous stay-at-home dad in the world.
Questions are powerful tools. When combined with love, encouragement, and prayer, they can spark real change. Perhaps the two questions above will stimulate a deeper conversation in your small groups.