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Mercy & Grace – Day 35

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

Day 35 – Monday in Holy Week

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 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’  (John 8.7-11)

From Amy Grant:                           “You Gave Me Love”

You gave me time
When no one gave me time of day
You looked deep inside
While the rest of the world looked away
You smiled at me
When there were just frowns everywhere
You gave me love
When nobody gave me a prayer

That’s why I call you Saviour
That’s why I call You friend
‘Cause You touched my heart
You touched my soul
And helped me start all over again
That’s why I love You Jesus
That’s why I’ll always care
‘Cause You gave me love
When nobody gave me a prayer

You gave me laughter
After I’d cried all my tears
You heard my dreams
While the rest of the world just closed its ears
I looked in Your eyes and I found such tenderness there
‘Cause You gave me love
When nobody gave me a prayer

That’s why I call you Saviour…

Yes He gives us love
When nobody gives us a prayer…

  

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF5jczqIl7w

 

To Reflect: 

Do you know why God loves you?  If you do please let me know, as I have not got the faintest idea why He would ever look at me once let alone fix His gaze on me!  So much goes wrong for me and, though I prevaricate as to whose fault it is, in the end I find myself, like the woman caught in adultery, desperate, bedraggled and lying in dust surrounded by my accusers.  On good days they are polite enough to not point their fingers at me too fiercely or shout out my faults too loudly but if they were less restrained I would have no right to complain. They may be as bad as me but I am still wrong.  Oh yes, suggesting that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3.23) may salve my wounds for a while but it won’t heal them.

And then along comes Jesus.

He knows I have failed.  He knows I am wilful. He knows I deliberately run towards sin.  Yet He still loves me.

You gave me love
When nobody gave me a prayer 

Such wonderful words are the essence of true love.  Love proves itself when the object of its affection finds itself hoping beyond hope that they can be better because of that pure love.  In a wonderful scene in the musical ‘The Man of La Mancha’ the mad Don Quixote mistakes the kitchen maid Aldonza for the duchess Dulcinea and sings her into a truer beauty.  Perhaps that is what all we all need, the love of…

one man, scorned and covered with scars
who strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

…and so make the impossible dream a reality in our lives.

The love of God in Christ is no madcap fantasy.  His love is a reality wrought on the unyielding wood of the cross.  Just as surely as His hand reaches down to rescue us from the mire of our sin so the same ones who condemned us will nail those hands to a tree.  Such love is too rich for this world to bear.

the wound is the place where light entersThe older I get the deeper Holy Week becomes for me.  In my second and third decades it was a time of intense pain and not being able to look at the One whose wounds were my responsibility – with the crowd at Pilate’s palace I know I used to cry ‘Crucify Him’.  In my forties I learnt to embrace the cross and somehow mingle my pain with His.  And now it is about a deepening love and learning with Mother Julian that I can hide within His wounds.  Even when others have given up on me, and I have given up on myself, He pours out a redeeming, restoring love.

This is the effect of His unyielding love towards each of us.  The kitchen maid is transformed into the duchess, the sinner into the saint, and the wanton into the Bride of Christ.

 

To Do:

Try to carry a small cross with you throughout this Holy Week and hold it frequently.

 

To Pray:

You can hide nothing from God.  The mask you wear before others will do no good before him.  He wants to see you as you are, he wants to be gracious to you.  You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers and sisters as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner.  Thank God for that…
Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Pilgrim Book 1

The courtship song of Aldonza by Don Quixote may be found here.  But it is worthwhile watching the whole movie. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayz50HeFJUU

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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