Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant
Day 8 – Thursday 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:
…. they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ 25 He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26 They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27 He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ 28 Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30 The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34 They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out. (John 9.24-34)
From Amy Grant: “I Know Better Now”
Some people always know the right thing to say
I don’t really think I was born that way
And with the gift of charm they’re well endowed
I love to watch them float right through a crowd
I used to think it took a giggly girl
To win some fame in this mixed around world
But I know better now.
One day I met a man who showed me love
There standing on His head was a snow-white dove
And he said, once I came down to this mire for you
But I’m the Son of God, He’s your Father too
It wasn’t long until my new walk began
Since I’ve found Jesus, my life is in His hands
Now I have life, no one can take it from me
And I’ve a home above I’m waitin’ to see
There’re many rooms in the house of the Lord
Why don’t you come along, and bring someone more?
I used to think it took a giggly girl…
‘….but I know better now’.
Form the song earlier in the week (remember the joy of ‘Giggle’) Amy moves on in her journey to a place where a smile and a willing heart does not seem to solve all the problems of the world, or the church for that matter.
Years after she wrote this song she was, like the man born blind, driven out from some parts of her church community. Amy has always been an ‘edgy’ person, after all she often removes her shoes during her performances and sings barefoot! Those who know me will know that this is just another reason why I love Amy 😀
She faced many years of sadness as she was rejected by some of those close to her. They did not approve of her because she occasionally sang songs that were not explicitly Christian, because she became divorced and, (for some the worst of all), because she found love and married another man. Some parts of the Christian community in Tennessee can be very conservative indeed.
On some days ‘being a giggly girl’ just does not cover all the needs of life. For how many of us could ‘I know better now’ be our theme song?
I love my job and am continually amazed at the immense privilege that comes with being invited into people’s lives at their most intimate moments of sadness and joy. Early on I, perhaps like a naïve ‘giggly girl’, thought the whole of the church felt the same way. But, sadly, this is not the case. It is not the fault of individual Christians that this is so; it is the nature of any human institution. The joy of the Gospel forever struggles to blossom against the cynicism of sin.
Would that it were different! I now I too am prey to the temptation to gossip instead of love, and find it easier quench the Spirit than proclaim the Good News. There must be a better way?
For my part the story of the man born blind in John’s gospel has always helped me put things back together again. The arguments over ‘who sinned’ that he was born blind and ‘how did you come to see’ have come to be irrelevant to me as I try to find my place in the grand scheme of God’s love.
Yes, ‘I know better now’. I know on some days there is not much to giggle about. But I also know that The One who Loves us Best came down to ‘this mire’ – our world, our churches, our lives – and showed us love. With the man born blind I proclaim that I do not have all the answers, however, ‘One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ And that is enough to get me through the cynicism of sin (mine and others), and the necessaries of the institutional church, to wake each morning saying ‘thank you’, and be encouraged to invite others to come and meet a new love.
The next time a fellow Christian is being cynical, without contradicting, try to say something healthy and helpful
The next time you find yourself being cynical listen to today’s song again and try to ‘learn better’.
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
Al things pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Those who have God lack nothing:
God alone suffices. Teresa of Avila in 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.