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

A Song for Lent – Day 29 – Learning to Open Our Eyes

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

from ‘Evita’

I don’t expect my love affairs to last for long
Never fool myself that my dreams will come true
Being used to trouble, I’d anticipate it
But all the same I hate it, wouldn’t you
So what happens now (Another suitcase in another hall)
So what happens now (Take your picture off another wall)
Where am I going to (You’ll get by, you always have before)
Where am I going to

Time and time again, I’ve said that I don’t care
That I’m immune to gloom that I’m hard through and through
But every time it matters, all my words desert me
So anyone can hurt me and they do
So what happens now…

Call in three months time and I’ll be fine I know
Well, maybe not that fine but I’ll survive anyhow
I won’t recall the names and places of this sad occasion
But that’s no consolation, here and now
So what happens now…

 

From the Scriptures:

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’ When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous… and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 26.1-5,9  

To Reflect:

This song is the lament of the anonymous and unnamed Mistress who is turfed out of Juan Perón’s bed by the upwardly mobile Eva Duarte.  We do not hear from her again and, it seems she may have had a lucky escape with Evita dying just a few years later aged only 33.

The Mistress tries to shrug her shoulders at being dislodged from a place of comfort once again and sets off on her lonely pilgrimage looking for shelter as much as love. Her words are the opposite of Evita’s triumph song (see below) and of the two she proves perhaps to be the most human and so perhaps closest to redemption:

Time and time again, I’ve said that I don’t care
That I’m immune to gloom that I’m hard through and through
But every time it matters, all my words desert me
So anyone can hurt me and they do

Her story is not only the common lot of those who use or even sell their bodies to find succour and shelter; many others find themselves in similar circumstances.

In a world that overflows with sin and selfishness, the powerful climb to the top quickest by trampling on others who are taken for granted, are Evitaconsidered without worth or feelings only existing to be used and abused.  And so the un-named Mistress and her sisters and brothers are condemned to an endless pilgrimage in the wilderness from bedroom/sweatshop/slavery, to suitcase, to hallway, to bedroom/sweatshop/slavery.  From where they view life, the Children of Israel had it easy on their journey to the Promised Land!

What hope is there for these chattels of our greed and selfishness? What hope is there for us when we find ourselves tossed to and fro by the vagaries of life itself?  Who will be Moses for these lost children; brave enough to face down evil and corruption and bold enough to lead people into an unknown future?

The Church, both local and national, must always be eager to be a voice for the voiceless and, never hesitate to ‘speak truth to power’. However this is easier said than done.  The Church of England, with its privileged position as an Established Church and having a voice at the heart of our nation’s governance, walks a fine line between being a national conscience, an awkward nuisance, or just an amusing anachronism.  My home church is not the only one that finds herself in this place. Churches make alliances with the powerful at their peril.

‘So what happens now?’ cries a lonely voice as she stumbles down the stairs, suitcase in hand searching for another hall.

Like the One Who Loves us Best, we must refuse to deal with stereotypes and instead see everyone as unique individuals.  Not all the jobless are work-shy, nor all the homeless substance abusers.  Not all politicians are power-grabbing, some spend themselves in the service of others.  Nor are all the wealthy fat-cat oligarchs, some are forerunners in restoring the lost ideal of philanthropy.

God cherishes all people, high or low, wealthy or poor. We mar God’s image in them each time we proclaim some to be so worthless they do not deserve our care, and others to be so self-sufficient they do not need any help at all.

‘So what happens now?’ We open our eyes and decide that the only labels we use are the same as we use for family members.  The broken one in front of us is not a rent-boy but a Brother. The exhausted body on the late bus home is not a teenage mum holding down a ‘MacJob’ but a Sister. Those whom we belittle as ‘the great and the good’ are not leeches on society but Mother and Aunt, Father and Son.

When we learn that there are no people whom anyone ‘can and does hurt’, then we discover a little more of our own humanity and those who are ‘trodden on’ will link hands with us and with those who are ‘pulled down’ and together we will proclaim ourselves to be one family cherished by one loving God.

 

To Pray: 

Father, we are pilgrims of eternity.
We stand before you.
Let us not seek to deaden the desire for you
that disturbs our hearts.
Let us rather yield ourselves to its constraints
and go where it leads us.
Give us the courage to make sacrifices,
to yield our past to you
and our future.
Then use us, in Christ’s name, to be bearers
of freedom to slaves and prisoners
and joy to broken hearts.

Church Army, England

To Do: 

1)  Next time you meet someone who is looked down upon be kind to them.
2)  Next time you meet someone who holds public office thank them for their service to your community.

 

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

You can’t look at the life of Eva Peron without listening to Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.  The song title is taken from the words found on a plaque left by the city’s taxi drivers near her grave in Buenos Aires and can either be read as a moment of humility, irony, self-pity, or just plain hubris…

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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