Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant
Day 7 – Wednesday after 1st Sunday of Lent
These Reflections which take the music of Amy Grant as their theme, were originally published in Lent 2015. They 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:
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honour;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. Psalm 62.5-7
From Amy Grant: “I Love A Lonely Day”
TV’s off at 1 a.m.
One more day alone again
The road gets longer everyday
Why’d I have to get away?
But I have found a comfort here
Solitude can be so dear
Loneliness is not so blue
When it puts my mind on you.
I love a lonely day
It makes me think of you
All alone, I can easily find your love
I love, I love a lonely day
It chases me to you
It clears my heart
Lets my very best part shine through
Lonely people everywhere
Lucky, lonely ones who care
You’ve got all you need and more
Someone to be lonely for
Someone cries for you to hear
Take your heart and wipe their tear
Give them someone they can miss
Give them love and sing them this
I love a lonely day…
In previous Lents I have mentioned how some of the loneliest days of my life were whilst I was a teenager at Boarding School. I think for many adolescents this loneliness – which happens as they move from their ‘home’ families into support networks of their own choosing – is a necessary task. However, just because it is a ‘necessary task’, that does not make it any easier!
Loneliness hurts like hell and I wish I could have somehow wound the clock of my life back and discovered today’s song whilst I was still trying to become me.
It would have made the struggle so much easier.
Like Amy, I have come to ‘love a lonely day’, even the enforced ones. Do you, as I do, read in the words of this song a breakdown in a relationship that means she has to get away? But, as her song continues to tell us, good can even come out of bad circumstances.
When I find myself alone, for whatever reason, I have two choices; to please myself, or to run into the arms of the One who Loves us Best. Occasionally I make the wrong choice, wound God’s heart of love and am ashamed and embarrassed. But I have also learnt (at last!), that loneliness is the perfect moment to be ‘chased’ into the everlasting arms.
One of Amy’s early albums is called ‘Never Alone’ which builds on this song and the truth about God’s presence which proves we can be ‘Sometimes lonely, but never alone’. When we choose loving out Beloved over the other loves of our life, perhaps do some work for the gospel along the lines of yesterday’s song ‘Giggle’, we will find people drop us and leave us alone. Being righteous is a lonely furrow to plough! This is especially so if we have not learnt to use the loneliness forced by the ostracism and rejection of others as a time to run to God.
How do we learn these habits? How can we turn the possibility of desolation into the joy of consolation? The spiritual giants, such as Ignatius, would encourage us to stay in the darkness of desolation for in it the darkness of the womb that new life is born. However many of us are on the nursery slopes of the life of faith and need a guide and a help on the journey into quiet and stillness.
For me, in my teenage angst, learning to use loneliness came in the shape of a school chaplain who took a dozen of us to Leiston Abbey on the Suffolk Coast for a weekend. We jumped at the chance, anything to escape school and the wrong end of the dining table for two and a half days. But in the middle of it the chaplain insisted, albeit gently, that we spend two hours on Saturday afternoon in complete silence. It was then that a future vicar, who left school for a space to escape his teenage loneliness, would find in those two hours of quiet that he would never be alone again?
Ever since then I have, perhaps perversely considering the pain of my younger self, consciously regularly sought solitude and when loneliness of spirit assails me that is the very time I run away to our Beloved. God no longer needs to chase me towards that loving embrace. How about you? Why not, sometime this Lent, plan ‘lonely’ time; time and space when you will aim to listen to no voice other than the love song of our Beloved.
This is not time to be alone mind you, but time to easily find God’s love and join the ranks of the ‘lucky lonely ones who care’ who are so full of God’s love that they are able use their own broken hearts to wipe the tears of others.
Say a prayer for someone who is no longer, or less, your friend because you have chosen to be a friend of God. This may be a hard prayer as often this may be a family member.
God of our days and years
We set this time apart for you.
Form us in the likeness of Christ
So that we may learn of your love
And that our lives may give you glory.
Amen. from Pilgrim
All of the music on the video clips from YouTube is © Amy Grant. If you enjoy listening to her songs please consider buying her recordings. 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.