To Read: Click on song title to watch a video
I can show you the world, Shining, shimmering splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide!
I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder
Over sideways and under on a magic carpet ride
A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no, or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming
A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew, but when I’m way up here
It’s crystal clear, that now I’m in a whole new world with you
Unbelievable sights, Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky
A whole new world (Don’t you dare close your eyes)
A hundred thousand things to see (Hold your breath it gets better)
I’m like a shooting star, I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be
A whole new world (Every turn a surprise)
With new horizons to pursue (Every moment, red-letter)
I’ll chase them anywhere, there’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you
A whole new world (A whole new world)
That’s where we’ll be (That’s where we’ll be)
A thrilling chase, a wondrous place, for you and me
From the Scriptures:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6 Then he said to me, ‘It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
All of us hope for ‘A Whole New World’ but as Aldous Huxley found in his‘Brave’ New World, you often end up in the Same Old Place! Even in the wonderful world of Disney Happy-Ever-Afters, the street rat Aladdin and the over-protected Princess Jasmine find that the path of true love does not run at all smoothly. Until the entrapment of the grand vizier Jafar in Aladdin’s lamp, it is only when they are on their magic carpet ride that there is any sense of a bright and happy future.
So too for us, in what the Book of Common Prayer perceptively names ‘this naughty world’ we find that there are some days when our ‘Whole New World’ seems very distant indeed.
As people who are citizens of the already-but-not-yet reign of God we, rightly long for that place where, ‘God will wipe every tear from our eyes’. But how do we manage until then?
We could become recluses and try to seal ourselves off from the world, but if we do that how will the world ever hear about our Beloved’s great love for them?
We could pour ourselves out in the pursuit of justice and the transformation of society (which some do), but that is a wearing and soul-destroying path. Please add those who work in the darkest parts of the world to your prayers, they offer this service at a high personal price.
Or we could do what Aladdin and Jasmine did, take a flight on a magiccarpet to gain some perspective on the world. As they fly across the world (which is how the Sphinx lost it nose!) they see the breadth of the New World and can then come down to earth full of hope rather than despair.
The Anglican Communion tries to keep this perspective by calling all Anglicans to live out the Five Marks of Mission;[i] evangelism, teach disciples, work for justice, care for creation, serve all people. Not all of us will bear all five of the Marks of Mission at the same time, (each of them requires a call to be answered not simply a task to be chosen), but every one of us needs to know that it is only as we live out these five marks that the New World is brought to birth.
It would be wonderful to catch a Magic Carpet ride and fly away. Yet, God chose to come and live in amongst the middle of the mess we want to flee. If we want to meet our Sovereign this side of Eternity it will be in the middle of ‘this naughty world’ carrying five wounds in his flesh and saying ‘touch me and live.’
God, our promised land;
Christ, our way,
our journey has become long and hard
because we wander about
not knowing where to go.
We are strangers in our own land,
without bread, a roof, a future.
But you came to ﬁnd us
with your life-giving breath.
You, who are also displaced,
have become an exile with us.
You offer us anew the promised land.
Your spirit urges us toward
that joyous homecoming.
Displaced people, Peru
1) Commit the Five Marks to memory. There is an easy mnemonic: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform, Treasure.
2) Look at the Five Marks of Mission. Which one have you addressed least? In the last week of Lent do one thing, no matter how small, which will help a ‘Whole New World’ be born through your self-giving
Encore: Click on song title to watch a video
Yep! No one ain’t never had a Friend Like Me. However I’m not sure I could ever catch up with a friend like the Genie…
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