#Song4Lent · Bible Study · Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Movie · Musical Theatre

A Song for Lent – Day 27 – Sometimes Lonely but Never Walking Alone

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

You’ll Never Walk Alone

from Carousel

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone

You’ll never walk alone

From the Scriptures:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Matthew 28.16-20

To Reflect: 

At the end of February this year my beloved wife and I were gifted a holiday in Cyprus by one of our parishioners. Our holiday destination of choice has previously been Malta, where I was baptised, and we are familiar with the Christian sites around the archipelago. Cyprus was new to us and we had no fixed plans save to wake up, see what the weather was going like, and then visit somewhere on the island that matched the weather and the time of day.  This was how we came to visit Agios Lazaros – the Church of Lazarus Tomb in Larnaca.

Inside the church, even though there were the inevitable groups of noisyLazarus Caskettourists ticking off venues on their ‘bucket lists’ there remained a deep sense of devotion and holiness.  My beloved and I grew up in different traditions within Christianity and we have different understandings of what it means when we proclaim in the Creed ‘We believe in the communion of the saints’ so touching relics and lighting tapers in front of icons mean different things to each of us.

Lesley-Anne saw that I, and others, were deeply moved after touching the casket which held the relics of Lazarus so she gently asked me what it
meant to me.  I explained that there was something almost electric about being close to the remains of someone who was the friend of Jesus, over whose grave He wept and whom He called back to life.  It reminded me, as I touched the remains of the friend of Jesus, that Jesus was also my friend, that He also wept over me, and He also called me (as He did Lazarus) to new life.

CarouselIn the light of this the song at the end of Carousel and the tumultuous love of Billy and Julie took on a renewed meaning for me.  I am not one for overmuch hagiography, after all I only tentatively touched (or was it caressed) the reliquary of Lazarus and did not kiss it as did many devout people during our time there, but I have learnt to have a (what I feel is healthy) understanding of the relationship between The Church Triumphant and The Church Militant.

My father, a seafarer, and my younger brother, a chorister, made it to the heavenly home before either of them expected.  I miss them both and when I am close to the sea or hear a piece of choral music I occasionally slip into conversation with them and know that, just as Jesus is with us always, so those who have gone ahead of us are also close by.

This is not for me in any way some sort of contact with ‘the spirits of the dead’ but a comfort founded on the sure and certain hope of the promises of Christ.  My father and brother, like the faithful cloud of witnesses in Hebrews Chapter 12, are in the stands of the arena cheering me on as I attempt to run with perseverance the race that is set before us’ (Hebrews 13.1).  Like Billy in Carousel they are gone and not here, yet somehow still present, and I am encouraged by their example and their care for me to be stretch for the finishing line of faith.

Each of us tends our grief and our dead in different ways and it will only be when we are all finally home that we will begin to comprehend its full richness.  However whatever our views our this truth remains, we ‘Never Walk Alone.’

To Pray: 

O Lord God,
this loss hurts so.
My dead are so alive,
I cannot believe
I cannot touch them
or speak to them.
I so want them, Father,
so miss them. . .

I bleed, Father.
Help me; help me in this fog,
which blots out my perspective on the life
they now live in your hereafter,
Give me hope, dear Lord God,
give me hope in Christ’s own defeat of death,
that one day I shall see my loved ones again;
and touch them and hear them,
not in the vividness of my mind’s eye;
not in dreams or memories;
but in that world of light to which,
O my loving Lord,
safely bring me.

Ruth Etchells, England

 Lazarus candles

To Do:

1) Light a candle and give thanks for one of the ‘cheerleaders’ of the faith
who has encouraged you.

2) If you know someone who is recently bereaved be in touch with them and show your care through a letter or an email, a phone call or a visit.

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

Carousel sings of the love that was missed out on and messed up and finally redeemed.  Early on Billy and Julie begin to explore what might become of their feelings towards each other in the song If I Loved You. A love to which Julie finally confesses as Billy dies…

 

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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