Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant
These Reflections which take the music of Amy Grant as their theme, were originally published in Lent 2015 are being republished during June and July 2020 as a way of deepening our faith during the Covid19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world.
(Please pray for Amy as she in convalescence after open heart surgery over Easter).
From the Scriptures:
…everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5.13-14)
From Amy Grant: “Fat Baby”
I know a man maybe you know him, too
You never can tell he might even be you
He knelt at the altar and that was the end
He’s saved and that’s all that matters to him
His spiritual tummy it can’t take too much
One day a week he gets his spiritual lunch
On Sunday he puts on his spiritual best
And gives his language a spiritual rest
He’s just a fat little baby
He wants his bottle and he don’t mean maybe
He’s sampled solid food once or twice
But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice
He’s been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood
But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud
He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16
He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen
I’ve always wondered if he’ll grow up someday
He’s momma’s boy and he likes it that way
If you happen to see him tell him I said
He’ll never grow if he never gets fed
He’s just a fat little baby…
He’s just a fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat
A fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat
A fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, little baby
Well, I suppose it is an appropriate enough song to play on Shrove Tuesday as we all feast, hopefully not to excess, on all those foods that, though we enjoy them, are not as healthy for our bodies!
In Fat Baby Amy puts her tongue firmly in her cheek and has a gentle rib at those who could lose a few spiritual pounds. Using Archie from ‘All in the Family’ in the music video along with the song (see this weblink and below) only helps increase the laughter.
But, as we will see with all of Amy’s songs, there is a deeper message here.
In almost every Christian community I encounter the biggest (and sometimes only) item on their agenda is growth. Sadly, this growth seems to be focussed mostly on numbers and not so much on maturity. In terms of Amy’s song, if we are not careful the church can end up growing fat instead of growing fit!
In my own tradition we hope to redress this by reminding ourselves that becoming a convert to the faith – baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the Blood – is only the first step on a lifelong journey of discipleship.
Discipleship is hard work. For many years I presumed that because I had gone to Confirmation Class I had learnt all that there was to know about being a follower of the Way of the Lord. Then looking back I remember that I had learnt very little.
After all my well beloved, but aged, school chaplain was never going to stand much chance ‘schooling’ 110 twelve-year olds in the ways of the faith in the time allowed for Tuesday night Prep!
Mine is not an uncommon experience. Confirmation preparation, or baptism classes, or even Alpha (and other similar modern ways of telling the Gospel story), can only ever be the first step. Having learnt all of the faith in six short weeknight sessions the new Christian who has been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the Blood, can be tempted to go back into the world under the illusion that the first steps are all that there is to the journey.
And so we end up as bottle-fed converts instead of solid-food disciples.
Lent is the time when we put away the milk bottle, hide the dummy of our early faith, and chose to take more steps on the road home. Yes, like babies, our first steps will be hesitant and we will fall and stumble on the way. We may even be tempted to give up trying to walk altogether – crawling around on the floor was so much easier wasn’t it?.
When the forty days ahead become hard, and your soul feels bruised and knocked a little, remember God is just as much a caring loving parent as would hope to be for any children of our own. When you feel you are falling, when you want to go back to being an infant, hold out your hands to the One who Loves us Best and, in that love, find the confidence to run into God’s loving embrace.
Oh, and please remember enjoy several pancakes today!
Have a short ‘stock take’ of your daily devotions and ask yourself if they are stuck in the mud. Ask yourself if you should be approaching this differently.
Some may (for Lent decide) to do less, some more, some may even attempt a new way of talking with God.
Generous God, loving Father,
In Jesus you are one with us so that we may be one with you.
Help me walk this way of faith and follow the path of Christ.
To Listen and Watch:
For those who are unfamiliar with Amy and her music here is the beginning of her entry in Wikipedia:-
Amy Lee Grant (born November 25, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and actress, best known for performing Christian music. She has been referred to as “The Queen of Christian Pop”. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
Grant is a great-granddaughter of Nashville philanthropist A. M. Burton (founder of Life and Casualty Insurance Company, eponym of Nashville’s Life & Casualty Tower, WLAC Radio, and WLAC-TV) and Lillie Burton. Grant has acknowledged the influence of the Burton’s on her development as a musician, starting with their common membership in Nashville’s Ashwood Church of Christ.
Grant made her debut as a teenager, and gained fame in Christian music during the 1980s with such hits as “Father’s Eyes”, “El Shaddai“, and “Angels“. In the mid-1980s, she began broadening her audience and soon became one of the first CCM artists to cross over into mainstream pop on the heels of her successful albums Unguarded and Lead Me On. In 1986, she scored her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song in a duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall“. In 1991, she released the blockbuster album Heart in Motion which became her best-selling album to date, topping the Billboard Christian album chart for 32 weeks, selling five million copies in the U.S., and producing her second No. 1 pop single “Baby Baby“.
Grant has won six Grammy Awards, 25 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and had the first Christian album ever to go Platinum. She was honored with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 for her contributions to the entertainment industry.
The rest of Amy’s entry can be found here:-
And if you want to listen to one of her most famous songs listen here:-
All of the music on the video clips from YouTube is © Amy Grant. If you enjoy listening to her music please buy copies for your own. A full discography and other information about Amy can be found on her website http://www.amygrant.com
Scripture quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Prayers from Pilgrim are copyright © 2015 Stephen Cottrell, Steven Croft, Robert Atwell and Paula Gooder.
The cover picture is copyright © Myleene Klaas – listen to her music here.