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Mercy & Grace – Day 25

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

Day 25 – Wednesday 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:

13 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.   (1 Corinthians 16.13-14)

From Amy Grant:                       “What About The Love”

I went to see my sister
She was staying with a friend
Who had turned into a preacher
To save the world from sin.
He said “First deny your body,
And then learn to submit
Pray to be made worthy,
And tithe your ten percent”
I said “Is this all there is,
Just the letter of the law?”
Something is wrong.

I went to see my brother
On the 32nd floor
of a building down on Wall Street
You could hear the future’s roar.
He said “Here we make decisions,
and we trade commodities;
If you tell me where there’s famine,
I can make you guarantees”.
I said “Is this all there is,
Power to the strong?”
Something is wrong.

Something’s wrong in heaven tonight
You can almost hear them cry
Angels to the left and the right
Saying “What about the love
What about the love
What about the love?”

I went to see my neighbour
He’d been taken to a home
For the weak and the discarded
Who had no place to go.
He said “Here I lack for nothing
I am fed and I am clothed,
But at times I miss the freedom
I used to know”.
I said “Is this all there is
When your usefulness is gone?”
Something is wrong.

Something’s wrong in heaven tonight…

I looked into the mirror
Proud as I could be
and I saw my pointing finger
Pointing back at me!
Saying “Who named you accuser
Who gave you the scales?”
I hung my head in sorrow
I could almost feel the nails.
I said “This is how it is
To be crucified and judged
Without love.”

Something’s wrong in heaven tonight…
 

 

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRy6k2-rhtM

To Reflect: 

It is strangely appropriate (and entirely coincidental) that this should be the song to listen to on the day when the Chancellor of the Exchequer steps up to the Despatch Box in the Palace of Westminster to deliver his budget speech to the United Kingdom.  In all of the ups and downs of what he will have to say, and it will be convoluted and complex as we face a General Election in seven weeks time, I wonder if any of those crowding the green benches will, in their banter and baying of each other, shout out ‘What about the love?’  Sadly, I hold out little hope to see ‘What about the love?’ as the Newspaper headline in the days that follow.  Would that it were otherwise!

‘Is this all there is?’ we may be tempted to ask with Amy, ‘the letter of the law’, ‘power to the strong’, and no hope for those whose, ‘usefulness is gone’?  Something is wrong indeed.  Life takes a wrong turn when we attempt to make everything in life into a product that can be measured.  This is not just the realm of industry and money brokers, churches can be heartless places where the emphasis is on obedience and law instead of love, and even care for the outcast and elderly can end up removing want but not meeting need.

My wife works in people’s homes as a care worker.  I see in her eyes almost every day, the ache that comes from being in a system which offers enough time to meet the bodily needs of the elderly and housebound, but not enough time to leave space for love to be added as a balm to heal the soul.  Churches, the world over, are notorious for proclaiming a Gospel of Love but then hedging that love about with law and compliance instead of grace and freedom.  At least the world of business is honest; money has never owned up to possessing any morals at all!  However that does not excuse the Captains of Industry from a duty to spend money for the Common Good instead of only lining their pockets.

Something is wrong, and the angels weep and cry out for an epidemic of love to break out amongst the people who God ‘so loved that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’. (John 3.16) 

beggar seeking human kindnessAmy reminds us that we make a mistake when we choose to spend our time blaming others.  It is in our own hands that we will find the power to choose love over self-righteousness.  She has learnt that the mirror is a dangerous place to visit!  Do not go there unless you want to be humbled and transformed. When we were small the mirror was the stuff of Snow White and would proclaim to us (in our self consumed  vanity) that we were ‘the fairest of them all’.  As we grow wiser, which sadly does not always come with age, our looks will fade but our beauty need not.  We have in our own hand, or at least in the four fingers which point back at ourselves, the ability  to turn the tears of angels into the joy of heaven.  Less law – more love, less profit – more love, less care that only complies with code – more love!  To be honest what the world needs now is ‘less me – more the other’.

Each of us has at some time on our journey chosen to give ourselves wholly and completely to the One Who Loves us Best.  Surely it should not be that difficult to also let ourselves fall in love with those around us?  After all did He not say, ‘just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’? (Matthew 25.40)

To Do:

for the future:

To demonstrate that your commitment to love all of God’s people is not just ‘words’ decide to vote in whichever elections for public office for which you have a franchise.

for today:

Listen to Michael Jackson’s song ‘Man in the Mirror.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PivWY9wn5ps

To Pray:

Choose rather to want less, than to have more.
Thomas a Kempis in Pilgrim 

Remember this – you can’t serve God and Money, but you can serve God with money.
Selwyn Hughes in Pilgrim

No one has ever become poor by giving.
Anne Frank 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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