Music, like the Bible, is full of mystery, surprise, and twists. Each offers an opportunity to ponder intent, ascribe meaning, attach emotion, and make it our own as we live into the word.
Raised as a Catholic and schooled by Marianist Brothers, I have long been comforted by Jesus’s mother Mary in many ways, including Paul McCartney’s song, Let it Be:
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
For five decades, I have seen Jesus’s Mary in McCartney’s soothing voice and assuring words:
And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
I was sure McCartney invoked Jesus’s mother to complement the warm melody and calming lyrics. Who else could mysteriously appear in times of trouble and hours of darkness speaking words of wisdom?
For this church blog, I wanted to identify the Scripture source of McCartney’s song. I Googled and found Luke 1:38 (ESV):
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Ready to finish this post, I tried one more search: “Meaning of Let it Be.” These five words erased 50 years of belief!
Imagine my surprise to learn that the subject of this song is Paul’s mother Mary, not Jesus’s mother. Mary McCartney appeared to her son in a dream years after her death, counseling him to “let it be.” I wrongly assumed McCartney conjured up Jesus’ mother to comfort me in times of trouble and hours of darkness.
Despite what now feels like 50 years of misplaced gratitude, I remain grateful. Particularly for the gratitude Let it Be draws from me. Facts to the contrary, I still see Jesus’s Mother when this song plays, and gratitude continues to shine brightly.
Today, I am particularly grateful for:
- Jesus and His mother
- Paul McCartney and his mother
- My mother and my wife’s mother
- The Marble Collegiate Church family
On Sunday, November 13, 2022, the Marble family will gather online and in-person for a joyous Service and celebration. We will thank God for our many blessings and offer our financial support for next year.
Please be part of this exciting season at Marble. Use this link to learn more about Gratitude Sunday 2022 and to register for the online or in-person celebration and to offer your financial support.
See you there!
With blessings and love, Let it be.
John Hupalo is a member of the Board of Deacons and Elders, and Co-Chair of the Gratitude Sunday 2022 Committee
6 responses to “My (misplaced?) Gratitude for Paul McCartney and Let it Be”
I am a huge Paul McCartney fan. But today, from your post, I learned Mother Mary meant Paul’s Mother. However . . . isn’t the beauty of art how we each can interpret our own meaning? And what we see in the art can change over time as we change? Even though McCartney didn’t mean Jesus’s mother, the song is still a gift from above. Thank you for your post.
Thank you Betty for your response. I so believe this song is a gift from God. I remember many years ago Paul recorded a special version of Let it Be after a ferry accident. The song gave the victim’s families a place to grieve with the music. It just has that power…
Thank you John for this insight… for me it makes it even more special, as I too am grateful for the words of wisdom my mother dearest imparted in me. They continue to guide me at all times and more importantly her faith in God who bids us to bring all our cares to him. Simply grateful today!
This is so beautiful, John. Thank you for sharing this with us and sharing a piece of your own story. Yes, mothers one and all, are sources of hope and gratitude.
I, too, remember when I learned Paul McCartney was talking about his mother, and I remember thinking what a gift she was to come to him in a dream, still loving him and wanting the best for him–just like Jesus’ mother.
Thank you for the comments. God speaks to us in many ways. I’m grateful when I am able to listen and discern and learn and grow. Blessings abound!