To Read: Click on song title to watch a video
from ‘Calamity Jane’
Once I had a secret love
That lived within the heart of me
All too soon my secret love
Became impatient to be free
So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Just how wonderful you are
And why I am so in love with you
Now I shout it from the highest hills
Even told the golden daffodils
At last my heart’s an open door
And my secret love’s no secret anymore
From the Scriptures:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.
2 Timothy 4.1-2
I’m racking my brains to think of a time if I ever did, but I’m pretty certain I have never gone up to someone, friend or stranger and, out of the blue, said ‘I am a Christian’.
Many times people have told me I am one. Last summer I was in one of the bars on Felixstowe Promenade and a young woman from a show at the Spa Pavilion noticed I was wearing a clerical shirt. Her words were priceless, ‘Oh my God! You’re a vicar. Does that mean you are a Christian?’ Her enquiry was an honest one and our conversation turned to deeper things about life and how to live it in the best way.
Public proclamation of the faith in the mode of the street preacher shouting Scripture verses (why do they always choose the condemnatory not the encouraging verses?) at passers-by is not my forté.
But I do know that this love that God has for me cannot be a ‘Secret Love’. Oh yes, I’ve tried to hide it. None more so than at Boarding School, when going to communion on a Sunday morning meant being late for Breakfast and 700 boys knew that 20 or so of their classmates had not only got out of bed early, but had also been indulging in a spot of ‘extra God’. We were compelled to go to Chapel twice on a Sunday, who in their right minds would go three times of their own free will?
No, we may think our love for the One Who Loves us Best is a ‘Secret Love’ but as sure as you know from the start of the story that Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok are a match made in Wild West Heaven, so we know that we are wonderfully and truly, madly, deeply, lost in a love bigger than ourselves.
When we come to that moment things may change around us, evenCalamity Jane changed and ended up wearing a pink ballgown! We may not start shouting Scripture passages at passers-by on Market Day (if you do feel called to do so please shout the verses about love…) but everyone we know will know we are in love. Our love will be shown in our lives as much as our words.
We should not need to tell others about our ‘Secret Love’, Like Calam and Bill, it should be obvious for all to see.
We sing of our love in the things we choose to do for others before doing them for ourselves.
We sing of our love in the things we give up doing ourselves and in our gentle encouraging of others to imitate our example.
We sing of our love every time we look up rather than look down, offer a compliment in place of a complaint, tend the wounds of others rather than serve ourselves.
To be honest, as anyone who is in love knows, love knows no not telling and a ‘secret love’ is an oxymoron. True love is never secret.
Am I mistaken, Lord,
is it a temptation to think
You increasingly urge me
to go forth and proclaim
the need and urgency
from the Blessed Sacrament
to your other presence,
just as real,
in the Eucharist of the poor?
Theologians will argue,
a thousand distinctions be advanced . . .
But woe to him who feeds on you
and later has no eyes to see you,
to discern you
foraging for food among the garbage,
being evicted every other minute,
living in sub-human conditions
under the sign
of utter insecurity!
Dom Helder Camara, Brazil
1) Sing a song or hymn about your love for God today – if there are some daffodils to hand to sing to, go ahead J
I will be singing My Jesus I Love Thee.
2) Calamity Jane, when she finally owned up to her ‘Secret Love’, had a Makeover (with a little help from Katie). What habits do you want to change to help you proclaim that your ‘secret love’s no secret anymore?’
Encore: Click on song title to watch a video
Calamity Jane has many other songs in it but, in my opinion none of them do justice to the voice of Doris Day. So for an encore I’m dipping into ‘The Man who Knew too Much’ to find a song from my very young days which called me forward and helped me pick myself up when I had been knocked back a little. I wonder if Que Sera Sera did the same for you?
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