#Mercy & Grace · Amy Grant · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · poem · Prayer · Sermon

Mercy & Grace – Day 16

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Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant

Day 16 – Saturday after 2nd 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 the Covid19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world

To Read:  

From the Scriptures:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  (Romans 12.9-17)

 

From Amy Grant:                                     “Family”

Where have you come from?
Where are you going?
Tell me what’s brought you here now?
Is your heart singing?
Then share what you’re bringing
We all are a part of the show.

‘Cause we are all going home
‘Cause we are a family
and we are all going home
Are you listening?
We are all going home
so come join the family
‘Cause we are all going home.

But is your heart quiet?
Is something not right?
Can you tell me what’s blocking the way?
Well just ask the Father
He knows every problem
He’ll carry that burden away.

‘Cause we are all going home…

 

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbMNqY0lT2A

To Reflect: 

Another, slightly older song that some reading this may have learnt at Sunday School, begins this way 

I belong to a family, the biggest on the earth
Ten thousand every day are coming to birth
Our name isn’t Davis, Hall, Groves, or Jones
It’s a name every man should be proud he owns       (The Spinners)

If you want to listen to the whole song you can find it here – but please beware the lyrics carry a health warning, as they are very much of their own era…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll4xVSGVDik

However the point in this song and in Amy’s are the same – we are not meant to travel this journey alone.  As we travel homewards we are called to help each other whether our hearts are singing or silent, whether we have something to share with the whole family or just need a quiet chat with a dear friend.

This is what it means to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep’.  Some of our family are able to spend time ‘living on the mountain top’ in close joyful fellowship with God and we rejoice with them.  Others are found in the grime of ‘the valley below’ shrouded by tears, despair, or fear, and we care for them as we weep alongside them.

romans-12 copyWe need each other, or else how else can we find our way home?  The road is ever a mixture of mountaintops and valleys and not one of us holds every part of the map.  Yes, I suppose it is possible to be a Christian without going to church, but it is a very lonely furrow to plough.  For which reason I pray deeply for those who find themselves outside the fellowship of a worshipping community.   I also pray for those churches who feel they cannot welcome everyone into the great family of God to which all belong.

The church is not a perfect family; not many families are, even if we do have a wonderful ‘Mimi’ to help us on the way.  I know from experience that the church can be an awkward place in which to grow.  My own denomination seems, to those outside it, to be obsessed with internal wrangling and is often accused of being irrelevant and impotent.  I hear again the plea that John Wimber used to make when he was in a similar place, ‘When are we going to do the stuff?’  If only we would get on with the business of heaven then perhaps everything would fall into place?

But what if the business of heaven is to become the family God has called us to become?  What if the journey is not only about the destination but is also about those with whom we travel?  Surely it is only as we together climb mountains and traverse valleys that we can ever learn the melody of the song of God’s love?

We will not always travel in harmony or at peace – my church speaks of learning the grace of ‘good disagreement’.  But we can do is learn to weep together when one of our number is saddened and rejoice when another is happy.   This will help us see the road ahead more clearly.  If we do not invite each other to ‘come join the family’ how else will we ever find the path home?

To Do:

Find someone in your Christian family who has been distant or no longer journeys with you and offer them ‘the right hand of fellowship’  (Galatians 2.9)

To Pray:

To love another as a person we have to love them for what they are in themselves, and not for what they are to us.  We have to love them for their own good, not for the good we get out of them. And this is impossible, unless we are capable of a love which ‘transforms’ us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things as they see them, to love what they love, to experience the deeper realities of their own life as if they were our own. Without sacrifice such transformation is utterly impossible.

Thomas Merton in Pilgrim

Acknowledgements:

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.

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