Wednesday night, Mark and I attended the Allen Toussaint tribute at the Hollywood Bowl. The crowd was a classic jazz group – a blend of ages and races, a mix of outrageous outfits with t-shirts with jeans. People were mellow and happy, singing and making friends with strangers in the next row. Even before the music started, it was a beautiful respite from another horrible week of violence and anger in the public space, a soothing reminder of the power of art and the ability of people to unite over shared passions.

A highlight was a star-studded performance of Toussaint’s hit “Yes, We Can, Can,” a hit for the Pointer Sisters in 1974:

Now's the time for all good men To get together with one another We got to iron out our problems And iron out our quarrels And try to live as brothers… I know we can make it I know darn well, we can work it out Oh, yes, we can, I know we can, can…

Forty years later, we’re facing the same crises that inspired Toussaint’s song. In such divisive times, the people of God must be a voice for unity and equality. Jesus charges us with reaching out to others in love, not in judgment. He compels us to offer brotherhood, not condemnation. He commands us to love each other.

In the name of Jesus, each of us can – and must – make a difference. We can change the world through love and mercy. With God’s help, yes, we can, can.

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Ephesians 4:14-16