#Song4Lent · Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Movie · Musical Theatre · Prayer · Sermon

A Song for Lent – Day 8 – Is God ‘people who need people’?

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

People

from Funny Girl

People,
People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world

We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children
Lovers are very special people
They’re the luckiest people in the world

With one person one very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst

But first be a person who needs people

People who need people…
(Repeats)

 

From the Scriptures:

There you will serve other gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress, when all these things have happened to you in time to come, you will return to the Lord your God and heed him. 31 Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 4.28-31

To Reflect:

Fanny Brice:           ‘You can get lonesome being that free’

Nick Arnstein:         ‘You can get lonesome being that busy’

Were Fanny and Nick fortunate, despite their pleas of being ‘too busy to Funny Girlcare’ or have a ‘devil may care’ attitude, to find out that they were themselves ‘people who need people’?

The court remains out on this and I’m pretty sure the real Fanny Brice spent a considerable amount of time going over the choices she made in marrying her Nick ‘warts and all’. This included his addiction to gambling (gods made by human hands, objects of wood and stone), which leads to his later imprisonment and, though still deeply in love, their final separation.

This is not so with The One Who Loves Us Best.

Have you ever felt yourself that far away from love, that deep in the pit of selfishness, that shrouded by darkness, that even if you crawled back to God and promised absolute obedience and righteousness for the rest of your life God would look askance at your offering and say, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’?

The children of Israel have known that feeling, several times, and that in the grand manner. What was God’s response?

‘The Lord your God is a merciful God,

he will neither abandon you nor destroy you;

he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors

that he swore to them.’

Wherever did we pick up the picture of the God of the Old Testament being a vengeful God full of wrath rather than that of a God who is overflowing with ‘hesed’, (loving kindness)?

This is important and at the very roots of Christianity. If the Old Testament is all about God’s anger being appeased then the Cross becomes a place of wrath avenged. If however we listen to the heartbeat of the Old Testament, which is shot through with a God ‘whose mercy endures forever’, then the cross becomes a place where love is magnified rather than a sacrifice made to satisfy our sin.

Theologians from Aristotle to Alfred North Whitehead and Teilhard de Chardin, have, and probably always will, argue over whether God ‘needs’ the creation. Does God ‘need’ people the way ‘people need people’? And if God does then how does God remain godlike?

I tend towards the Liberation and Process Theologians[1] as I have seen too much light shine out of darkness, too much grace as a response to sin amongst the lovely Christians in Southern Africa as the used the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to begin to heal the Rainbow Nation to not believe in a God who forgives first and asks questions later.

In some way you and I are needed to work alongside God in redeeming the world and calling everything back to where it should be. God ‘needs’ our help to do this work.

Aren’t we the luckiest people in the world’?

To Pray:

Look at me with mercy, O God,
as I meditate to know and love you more and more.
I call on you for your guidance.

Where I have not fulfilled your Commandments,
I humbly kneel down in prayer for forgiveness.
Keep encouraging me, O God,
in all I do to please you.

In your mercy, O God,
where all is peace, I’ll be led
not to regret but to rejoice
as in your company I get all my comfort.

Fred R. Musimenta, Uganda

To Do:

  • Random Act of Kindness day. Do something good (if small) for someone else, especially if they are busy or self-involved.
  • You know those regrets you have about the past, yes those ones, hand them over to God so that they can be forgotten and love flourish.

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

Don’t Rain on My Parade is sung twice in Funny Girl. Once in a ‘go out and get them’ mood as Fanny’s career blossoms, and also in the end. One of the things that pushes her and Nick to separate is both of them being determined the now that nothing should ‘Rain on her Parade’. A bittersweet end, but perhaps a picture of the fact that despite how we have failed and fallen, The One Who Loves Us Best always desires the best for us.

 

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

[1] For a very brief introduction to this topic this is a balanced article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_theology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s