Written by Lillian Daniel
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone." - Deuteronomy 6:4 (NRSV)
"Our time on earth is temporary. If I won't try to find out who you are, how will I know who I am?"
That's a rough translation of the song that stayed in my head long after I heard it. But I didn't remember it for the lyrics. I learned those later.
I remember the song because of the twenty teenagers who sang it that night in Jerusalem. "God Is Not Responsible for Everything" is a pop song by one of Israel's most popular rappers, Erez "E-Z" Sharon. Their matching jeans and white shirts made it clear they were a choir. They moved and sang as a well-rehearsed group.
But their neon sneakers, long hair, short spiky hair, hijabs, sandals and funky belts expressed the natural teenage individualism that made the performance so much fun. They clearly liked the song they were singing. They took turns stepping up into the spotlight in pairs, singing and rapping at the mic, then stepping back into the group so the next pair could step forward.
You would never have guessed that these were teenagers from two separate choirs who were performing together for the very first time that night. These Jewish and Arab teenagers had not known each other before rehearsing together. But now they looked like one experienced choir.
The lyrics of the chorus made it plain:
"God Is Not Responsible for Everything. If we don't accept each other, even the One Above won't save us from ourselves. God Is Not Responsible for Everything."
These kids knew more about religion than many adults and now they were teaching us.
Whatever you call God, don't ever ascribe hate to God's holy name.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You. Amen.