December 3, 2023

Mooney-McCoy On One Hit Wonders of Scripture

Bil Mooney McCoy delivers message in chapel. Photo by Deepak Bardhan.

By Collin Hall ’20
News Editor

On Jan. 31, 2018, Director of Worship, Bil Mooney-McCoy, gave a special sermon on “one-hit wonders,” and what it means to live as if “what you see is what you get.”

‘“What you see is what you get’ is how we need to be as Christians” he said. At one point,” he continued, “that wasn’t me. There was a point in my life years ago where my actions were inconsistent with the values and beliefs that I claimed to have.”

He stated, “Through a lot of hard work, suffering, tears, counseling, God’s grace and forgiveness, now the dude you see here is the same guy who drives home on 128 and the same guy who goes to business trips in Boston. I’m the same guy.”

Mooney-McCoy began by humoring the crowd with one-hit wonders of yesteryear, including “Take On Me” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”  

He also played a hymn by Washington Gladden, a pastor from 100 years ago.  As far as songwriters go, Gladden was himself a “one-hit wonder,” Mooney-McCoy said.

“I’ve loved it since high school.” Mooney-McCoy explained. “I love how the second verse asks for a heart of love and compassion.  He was one of the first social justice evangelicals; he supported unions for workers.”  

He was also a pastor working against African American discrimination in a time where questioning the place of African Americans was referred to as solving the “negro question.”  

Mooney-McCoy said that as Christians align their lives further towards God’s expectations, they are able to be used for immeasurable good.

He gave several examples from his life of how being prepared, or ill-prepared spiritually, radically changed his reaction when a response was needed from him in important situations.  

He first gave an example of how he blew it.

Mooney-McCoy told of the time a good friend called; the friend’s brother was dying of cancer.  The friend urged Mooney-McCoy to give the dying brother a call.

Mooney-McCoy wanted to call the brother, to wish him well and to share his love, to be a comfort.

“By the time I did it, it was too late.” He said. “He was unable to take calls and he died the next day. I blew it. I blew it. If there’s something God calls you to do and you ain’t done it, do it! Do it now. Because you just don’t know.”

His second story, however, was more hopeful.  

Mooney-McCoy performed light jazz for two straight hours as a minister prayed over those in need. He did not want to; his back was killing him and he was incredibly tired. Yet unbeknownst to him, his playing gave the minster the power she needed to pray over these kids.  

“While I played, she felt strength course through her spirit and she was able to minister to each kid. As soon as I stopped playing, she ran out of energy and collapsed tired… You just don’t know if you’re obedient what is going to happen.”   

Mooney-McCoy urged members of the audience to reflect on their own lives to see if “what you see is what you get” is the truth within their hearts. He said, “I know somebody here is struggling with stuff that just doesn’t jive with who you want to be.  I have a plead with you; get right. I know if God did it for me, he can do it for you.”  

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