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

Mercy & Grace – Day 22

even there psalm 139

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

Day 22 – Saturday after 3rd 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:

 

7   Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8    If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139.7-11

From Amy Grant:                                    “Here”

What does all this beauty mean?
It captures my attention and I’m speechless
sunset, Tennessee, colours burn across the sky.
Slowly fading golden rays
Greet the moon and kiss the day goodbye.
And I, do I understand
Is this Your voice, saying “Here I am”?

I am here in the dark
In the quiet of your heart.
I am here in your corner of the sky.
I’m the light that fades away
At the turning of this day.
I am here, I am here
Here, here, yeah

What does all this music mean?
The rhythm of the heartbeat
and the symphony of every living thing.
Ringing throughout time,
the song of every single soul
In harmony our voices intertwined.
And when it all began
was it Your voice, saying “Here I am”?

I am here in the dark
I’m the music in your heart.
I’m the song in every corner of the sky.
I am here in the light
In the thunder late at night.
I am here, I am here
Here, here, I am here

I am here in the dark
I’m the song inside your heart.
I’m the missing piece that you’ve had all along
I am here when you call
When you rise and when you fall
I am here, I am here
I am here, I am here
here, here.

I am here, here, here.

 

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6vP71MOPj8

To Reflect:

When I first heard this song I labelled it as Amy’s ‘Burning Bush’, a ‘remove your sandals’ moment when she spoke of God breaking into the natural world (Exodus 3.5).  But this shows a God who is to be held in awe more than revealed.  So then I wondered if it was more of a Jacob’s Ladder occasion (Genesis 28.17), but this points to a moment of God’s revelation rather than God being present wherever we are.  So it all comes back to Psalm 139, my ‘home room’ which always reminds me that God is not only awesome, but also available, and ever present.

Pied Beauty extractAmy’s simple word ‘Here’ has become short hand for my ‘There is no place where God is not’ and enriches it further.  When Amy looks around her she sees not only a God who is ‘here’ but also one who is waiting to speak to His creation – an updated version of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ ‘Pied Beauty’ if you will.  But Amy speaks of even more than that!  Hopkins, a nature mystic, will look at the bright and the beautiful; spring, summer and even autumn, but not winter with its emptiness and long dark nights.

Amy goes further and embraces the darkness as a place from where God speaks to His creation.  For her God is ‘here’ in the dark, the night and the thunder.  The places were we do not always look to find God.  Perhaps the place where (if I am honest) we can be most frightened, are the places where we may hear His love song the clearest.

But there remains one more step.  Not just the bright dappled things, not only the dark night, but also the emptiness of our lives.  God is ‘here’ when there is nothing!  He is ‘the missing piece’ who has been within our reach our whole life long.  He is the one who fills our emptiness and makes us whole.  Augustine of Hippo, early in the Christian era, worded it this way, why do I ask you to come into me? For I should not be there at all unless, in this way, you were already present within me.’  (Confessions 1.2.2).

In the light, in the dark, in the emptiness, God is ‘here’ singing a song of love deep within our hearts ‘the missing piece that we’ve had all along’.  There is indeed ‘no place where God is not’ and, wherever we find ourselves to be, His voice is always calling to us.

To Do:

This Sunday is Mothering Sunday there are quite likely to be many flowers around – breathe in the perfume of at least one of them.

To Pray:

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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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