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A Song for Lent – Ash Wednesday – The Start of Something New

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

Start of Something New
from High School Musical 

Living in my own world, didn’t understand
That anything can happen, when you take a chance
I never believed in what I couldn’t see
I never opened my heart to all the possibilities,

I know that something has changed
Never felt this way
And right here, tonight

This could be the start of something new
It feels so right to be here with you, oh
And now, looking in your eyes
I feel in my heart the start of something new

Now who’d have ever thought that,
We’d both be here tonight?
Yeah, and the world looks so much brighter
Oh, with you by my side

I know that something has changed…

I never knew that it could happen, ’til it happened to me

I didn’t know it before, but now it’s easy to see,

This could be the start of something new…
(Repeats)

From the Scriptures:

16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished,
quenched like a wick:
18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
19  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild animals will honour me, the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21  the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.
Isaiah 49.16-21

To Reflect:

Today’s song is from the very beginning of High School Musical.

Troy and Gabriella our two lovers, inevitably star-crossed as is the way of Musicals, meet at a New Year’s Eve party and find themselves  High School Musicalunwilling duettists singing karaoke.

Shyness and embarrassment is overcome by a realisation that they make good music together and perhaps, if they met in a different place they might become more than just friends.  And meet they do, as Gabriella is unexpectedly transferred to Troy’s High School and she gives him the courage to sing his song.

This, in many ways for both of them and their friends at East High School, is indeed ‘The Start of Something New’.  They go to school to learn of life, of song, and of love.

Lent, at its best is a school, a school of faith.

Originally designed as a time of preparing for baptism at Easter, it was found to be so valuable that the whole church made it into a season for learning more about the faith during which to grow deeper in love for The One Who Loves Us Best.

Down the centuries Lent has become overlaid with regulation and restriction so that, what was once a time of preparation before a party becomes, if we are not careful, a time of chest-beating penitence, struggling to keep challenging disciplines, and little of the joy that awaits us in the new life of Easter remains.

Yes, we must ‘leave the past in dust and ashes’ but surely the aim of this is  so that we may embrace ‘the joy that is set before us?’  If our Lent is only about dust and ashes, fasting and penitential prayer (all godly parts of the faith) we may well greet Easter with exhaustion instead of excitement.

I have found that it is all too easy to play things safely in Lent.

Giving up a few little sins and bad habits as if denying myself a few luxuries and taking the last place for a season, will somehow assuage the hunger of the world for the Bread of Life.

What would happen if for each of us this Lent were indeed ‘The start of something new?’ 

What if instead of returning to the failed disciplines of previous years we spent this time of turning away from ourselves towards The One Who Loves Us Best with empty hands and open hearts?

What if we didn’t fall into the habit of our ‘usual’ Lent and allowed our souls to be touched by the song of God’s deep love for us and, like Troy and Gabriella, began to sing a new song ourselves?

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Says the LORD.

 

To Pray: 

Liberating God,
Free us from wrong-headed religion and ritual,
From self-indulgence and deceit,
That we may share the joy of your freedom
In unbinding those who live in darkness
and in the shadow of death

Joy Tetley, England

To Do:

Earlier this week Felixstowe Air Cadets asked me what they should be ‘giving up’ for Lent.

My advice to them is simple to say but more challenging to complete.

1)      Stop doing one thing that is not good for you.

2)      Start doing one thing that is good for those around you.

If you have not yet chosen your own activities for Lent why not join them?

 

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

Breaking Free is another song from High School Musical that may help you in your determination to ‘leave the past in dust and ashes’ as you press on towards the joy of Easter.

 

Acknowledgements:

Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

These Reflections, ‘A Song for Lent – 40 Days in the West End’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2018

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