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

Mercy & Grace – Day 24

woman crying at Katrina

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

Day 24 – Tuesday after 4th 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:

23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Psalm 107. 23-30

 

From Amy Grant:                 “How Mercy Looks From Here”

The water rose today,
The river with the rain,
memories and picture frames
are floating miles away.
Through the wreckage and the mud,
the ruins after the flood,
She survived at 91.
Some would have given up
drowning in their tears,
but on her wrinkled face
a smile appeared.

When you face your greatest fear
losing all that you hold near,
open up your eyes my dear,
Oh how mercy looks from here.

The call I couldn’t take,
unbearable mistakes,
a brilliant mind that fades away,
a baby doll beside the grave.

When you face your greatest fear…

I would have given up, drowning in my tears
if it wasn’t for your voice all these years.

When you face your greatest fear…

That’s when boundless grace appears
unseen angels hover near
saints are singing loud and clear
Oh how mercy looks from here,
Oh how mercy looks from here.

Oh how mercy looks from here,
Oh how mercy looks from here.

The water rose today…

 

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JDDQsck-xE

 

To Reflect: 

‘My Lifeguard Walks on Water’ so runs the bumper sticker.  This must have been an ironic statement if you were someone whose whole life was washed away by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (about which Amy is singing), or Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 that savaged the Philippines, or the Tsunami of Indonesia in 2004, and even down to Hurricane Pam in Vanuatu only a few days ago.

‘Who then is this?’  The disciples say in awestruck wonder, ‘that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4.41).  What has gone wrong?  Where is the ‘still small voice of calm’ of which we sing in our churches when the weather is at war with the world?  How are we to speak of a God who loves and cares for all creation when our very lives are made part of the flotsam and jetsam of a creation flooded with confusion and despair?  And it is not just the weather – perversely called ‘Acts of God’ by the world of insurance – that assails our faith.  Along with the flooded homes, there is the too-young death, the wasted mind, and even our own willfulness that seems too big to bear.

With Elisha, bereft of those things which have shown us God’s care and blessing, we pound the waters of the overflowing river of our grief and protest, ‘Where is the LORD the God of Elijah?’ (2 Kings 2.14).  As if to answer our pain Amy’s 91-year-old wrinkle faced lady replies to our questions with a smile as she sees her life float by her.  Either she does not know what has just happened, or she sees things with different eyes to everyone else.

It is in that mysterious word ‘mercy’ that she finds peace.  Following on from yesterday’s song and its soul-destroying memories of abuse, we come again to people who have learnt to listen closely to the voice of the One who Loves us Best.  These precious sisters and brothers, who have come so close to the end of life, seem also to have come very close to the life after life and so can hear the echo of the song of the saints and feel the brush of the angels wings.

Sandbox in grave

Last week I was at our local cemetery to bury the ashes of someone who had died full of years.  All went well and the cemetery attendant and I walked away with a sense of things happening at the right season.  Just over the hedge were two young mums with their toddlers on what could only be described as an outing to tend the graves of their babies. The mums were working together on two graves talking of the commonplaces of life while their little ones ran around each other on the green grass. My friend and I, in hushed tones, spoke of the way in which the mothers were not only tending the graves but their grief as well.  Just as they were finding healing as they mourned, they were also teaching their children the meaning of mercy.  For these mums the waters had risen and, for a season washed away the whole of their lives, but yet they still lived!   The way they acted and smiled and chattered as they arranged flowers and weather-worn teddies, showed God’s mercy to their children, the cemetery attendant and even an ageing vicar…

 

To Do:

If you can bear it, the next time you visit a cemetery, spend some time in the children’s section and whisper a prayer for the parents of the children buried there.

 

To Pray:

Victorious God,
in Jesus you share our life on earth
so that we may share your life in glory;
and on the cross we see the depths
and the extravagance of your love. 
Help me to stand under the cross
so that I may understand your love for me. Amen.
from 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 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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