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A Song for Lent – Day 3 – I am the Mask you Wear

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

Phantom of the Opera

from Phantom of the Opera

[Christine]   In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came,

that voice which calls to me, and speaks my name.
And do I dream again? For now I find
the phantom of the opera is there inside my mind.

[Phantom]  Sing once again with me our strange duet;
my power over you grows stronger yet.
And though you turn from me to glance behind,
the phantom of the opera is there inside your mind.

[Christine]  Those who have seen your face draw back in fear.
I am the mask you wear,
[Phantom]  it’s me they hear.
[Christine & Phantom]   Your spirit and my voice in one combined;
the phantom of the opera is there inside my/your mind.

[Voices:]   He’s the the phantom of the opera.
Beware the phantom of the opera.

[Phantom] In all your fantasies, you always knew that man and mystery

[Christine]  were both in you.
[Christine & Phantom]   And in this labyrinth where night is blind,
the Phantom of the opera is here inside my/your mind.
[Phantom]   Sing, my angel of music!

From the Scriptures: 

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10 And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5.6-8

 

To Reflect:

How do you perceive evil?

For some evil is personified in devil’s form, for others it is seen as part of the battle which goes on within the human heart (the cartoon picture of a demon on one of our shoulders and an angel on the other each whispering into different ears), still others see evil in terms of personal choice to do ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Whatever our view of evil is we must be aware of its reality. In The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis speaks of the twin dangers of being consumed by an over-awareness of evil so that we waste time not doing good, and being unaware of evil which allows evil to quietly prosper.

In The Phantom of the Opera the rising star Christine simply wants to sing and sing well. This leads her to fall in with the mysterious Phantom. A maestro who, in return for improving her voice, demands her permanent presence and undying devotion.

Sing once again with me our strange duet;Phantom of the Opera
my power over you grows stronger yet.
And though you turn from me to glance behind,
the phantom of the opera is there inside your mind.

In her plight we see the old tale of the Damnation of Faust acted out once more with the Phantom playing the role Mephistopheles. He will give Christine her voice if she will surrender her soul.

On our Lenten journey we will meet evil in many guises. For me the most invidious are those habits and deeds that dress up as good but at their heart draw me away from the One Who Loves us Best. The spiritual pride that drives competition between penitents, insisting that ‘my’ Lenten activity is superior to ‘yours’, and so what could be good turns rotten.

Then there are the arguments I have with myself about sticking to my personal disciplines, ‘What harm could it do to skip a day?’ ‘Surely just cutting a corner this one time will be ok?’ The familiar arguments of those who are held in thrall to unhelpful habits and addictions echo our attempts at faithfulness.

Even Jesus is tempted in this way (as we will learn in our Bible reading this coming Sunday). His answer is to not trust his feelings and emotions but instead to hold on to His being the Word made flesh that made the world good.

We are made in that self-same image. Temptations will come to each of us. Sometimes, by God’s grace, we will be able to deny them, at other times we will fall. However it is not far to fall into the embrace of the One Who Love us Best who, unlike evil does not demand slavish obedience but only the opportunity to love us more deeply.

We have nothing to lose and on this journey, if we but open our hearts, may finally be able to sing a song of perfect love…

 

To Pray:

Word of God, blow far from us
all dark despair,
all deep distress,
all groundless fears,
all sinful desires,
all Satan’s snares,
all false values,
all selfish wishes,
all wasteful worries.

Blow into us
your holy presence,
your living love,
your healing touch,
your splendid courage,
your mighty strength,
your perfect peace,
your caring concern,
your divine grace,
your boundless joy.

Wind of God,
blow strong,
blow fresh,
blow now.

Pamela Wilding, Kenya

 

To Do: (well more of a To ‘Not’ Do)

Look at your Lenten Disciplines and ask yourself if there is one of them that you might abandon. Rather give your heart to spending the next five weeks in activities which you know will enrich your faith than use energy fighting a personal challenge whose time has not yet come.

The One Who Love us Best does not love us more for being busy. His love is poured out on us regardless of our success at the Lent Olympics.

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

All I Ask of You is the other love story in Phantom of the Opera.
A love which has no strings attached, no possession desired, no performance demanded. As you listen think of those around you who simply love you because they are loving people and say ‘thank you’.

 

 

Please Note:
These reflections are also published on my blog: suffolkvicar.wordpress.com
as well as on my public Facebook page: Reverend Andrew Dotchin

 

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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