#Song4Lent · Bible Study · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Media Article · Movie · Musical Theatre · poem · Prayer · Sermon

A Song for Lent – Day 2 – As if we Never Said Goodbye

To Read: Click on the song title to watch a video.

As If We Never Said Goodbye

from Sunset Boulevard

I don’t know why I’m frightened. I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here…
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I ‘m not in any hurry. And I need a moment

The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
The atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye

I’ve spent so many mornings just trying to resist you
I’m trembling now, you can’t know how I’ve missed you
Missed the fairy tale adventure
In this ever spinning playground. We were young together

I’m coming out of make-up. The lights already burning
Not long until the cameras will start turning…
And the early morning madness
And the magic in the making
Yes, everything’s as if we never said goodbye

I don’t want to be alone. That’s all in the past
This world’s waited long enough. I’ve come home at last!

And this time will be bigger. And brighter than we knew it
So watch me fly, we all know I can do it…
Could I stop my hand from shaking?
Has there ever been a moment
With so much to live for?

The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
So much to say not just today but always…
We’ll have early morning madness
We’ll have magic in the making
Yes, everything’s as if we never said goodbye
Yes, everything’s as if we never said goodbye…
We taught the world new ways to dream!

 

From the Scriptures:

1Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him,
‘Take away all guilt; accept that which is good,
and we will offer the fruit of our lips.
Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, “Our God”,
to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.’

Hosea 14.1-3

To Reflect:

Sometimes, especially if we belong to a worshipping community which has a set liturgy and a fixed ritual, we can become dangerously over-familiar with Lent and end with ashes at its end as well as at its beginning.

The presumption of thinking that we ‘know our lines’ and so are not in need of any guidance or prompt along the way, is the particular sin of the committed Christian.  One that is often followed by a tendency to judge those who do not know their lines or dance steps as well as we do.

Such things have already been well rehearsed amongst my colleagues this Lent.

‘Of course it would be wrong to remember St Valentine even though his feast day fell on Ash Wednesday’.

‘What do you mean you have veiled your crosses and statues in your church?  That is only ever allowed in Passiontide.’

‘Ashes are really only properly prepared if they have been blended with holy oil rather than tap water.’

It is all too easy to be self-righteous about sin. Sad really.

When we allow ourselves to be over involved with the minutiae of Lenten devotion we can fall into the trap of the Pharisees and make the same errors about which Jesus preaches in Matthew chapter 6.

Norma Desmond, the former silent movie star at the heart of SunsetSunset BoulevardBoulevard, is a self-obsessed ego-maniac who, so familiar with being centre-stage, presumes that the world of Hollywood – “And now, Mr. DeMille, I am ready for my close-up” – remains at her beck and call and all that is required is for the queen to make her entrance down the grand staircase.

The tragedy of Sunset Boulevard is seen in the broken relationships, murder, and madness that her hubris of entitlement brings with it.

This tragedy can be our own worthless possession if, early in Lent, we do not learn the humility of listening deeply for the call of The One Who Loves us Best.

There is a grace to be found in learning to be surprised by the familiar.

Like the very young child who continues to find joy and wonder of the first-time discovery as the same story is read to them over and over again at bedtime, we too must never tire of being told, ‘The old, old story of Jesus and his love’.

If we do, we are tempted to believe that we are the ones who control the story line, pride creeps in, we turn to judge those less familiar with ‘the rules of faith’ and sour not only our own life but also the lives of those around us.

To Pray: 

You asked for my hands that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment then withdrew them tor the work was hard.

You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.

You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them for I did not want to see.

You asked for my life that you might work through me.
I gave a small part that I might not get too involved.

Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you,
only when it is convenient for me to do so,
only in those places where it is safe to do so,
and only with those who make it easy to do so.

Father, forgive me,
renew me
send me out
as a usable instrument
that I might take seriously the meaning of your cross.

Joe Seremane, South Africa

To Do:  

1)    Go back to the prayers and bible readings you used the last time you were in church and read them as if for the first time. Listen for God’s word to you for this Lent.
2)    If there is a young child in your life ask them what their favourite story is and read it to them.
or
3)    If you do not have a young child to help you read again a favourite story from your own childhood.

Encore: Click on the song title to watch a video.

Too Much in Love to Care is the song in Sunset Boulevard where redemption almost happens.

In it the love of Betty and Joe is forged, only to be dashed by the selfishness of Norma Desmond.  It is a case of if only…

My prayer is that for each us we would not find ourselves with a series of ‘if onlys’ in our journey of faith.

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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