"You are standing on top of the world
With the rich on one side and the poor on the other
There's an ocean between them before your eyes
Is all of humanity ready to rise up
You are standing for love in the land
And all the people are searching for something
There's a notion that all can fulfil their dreams
Of living in freedom with all of their families
In your open arms giving grace
Holy palms wiping their faces of tears
To see your face and your open heart
Is comforting all of our fears
Jesus of Rio"
This is a beautiful song written by Graham Nash and Jeff Pevar and released on 2004’s Crosby & Nash record. Nash has touched on the God issue a few times in his songwriting catalogue most notably for me on Cathedral where he sang “So many people have died in the name of Christ/That I can't believe at all” and on a beautiful prayer In Your Name from his Reflections Box Set that later appeared on CSN 2012 when he sings, "Lord, if you’re out there/You know that the whole world is going insane/Can you stop all this killing in your name?”
Jesus of Rio seems a more sympathetic approach to Jesus. In this one Jesus is not the cause of the world’s woes but a loving, gracious and comforting Saviour figure. I have never been to Rio but have been captivated by this image of Jesus looking over a city that seems to have a chasm between wealth and poverty.
The Olympic Games coming to Brazil highlights the injustice and indeed many would be protesting that the Olympics itself is a microcosm of the problem and might indeed even be making it worse.
Over these next weeks Jesus The Redeemer is going to be all over our media. So as the Olympics are about to begin, I am listening to Crosby & Nash and praying that the Jesus of Rio interupts and brings God’s Kingdom: -
You are standing on top of the world
A sacred symbol of love everlasting
Devotion can lift us up to the skies
With all of humanity ready to rise up...