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

Mercy & Grace – Day 36

please be patient

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

Day 36 – Tuesday 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:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  (Romans 7.14-24)

 

From Amy Grant:                       “Don’t Give Up On Me”

Don’t give up on me
Though I know at times it’s hard to see
All my many weaknesses might blind you
I must remind you
Don’t give up on me
Even when I act so selfishly
All my views are all I see
Yes I know there’s still so much of me
But God is working constantly to shape me
He’ll remake me

Don’t give up on me I’m gonna make it
I know it’s hard for you to see
Don’t give up on me I couldn’t take it
If a part of me should keep you from seeing
The part of me that should start you believing
I’m changing so please don’t give up on me

Don’t give up on me
Even when I fail so miserably
Time and again I know I stumble
It makes me humble
Don’t give up on me
But never let your love begin to be
Hanging on the things you see
Counting all the times I fail to be
Everything you want from me
I’m trying
Hear me crying

Don’t give up on me I’m gonna make it

I know much more than you
How very weak I am
But He believes in me
And so I know you can
When all my views are all I see
Then I know there’s still so much of me
But God is working constantly to shape me
He’ll remake me

Don’t give up on me I’m gonna make it

  

To Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSzb6s81Jtg

 

To Reflect: 

When Lesley-Anne and I were at Vicar School – as ‘White’ people we lived ‘illegally’ in a ‘Black’ residential area of South Africa – we were in a mixed block of accommodation of married students – generally middle aged and settled – and single students somewhat younger – still given to frequent parties and jollification.  Mostly we got on well together but when we didn’t it was often the long list of College chores that caused some ‘dissension’ in the Body of Christ.  Pogiso, one of the single students was notorious for not making it out of bed in time to take his turn as mini-bus driver for the day.  This meant that I often found I was press-ganged into doing extra duties when he did not surface in time for the School or Post Office run.  One day I had had enough and stormed up to his flat and was about to knock loudly on his door only to see a small notice on his door that read ‘Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet’.

Well what could I do?  I left him to sleep, laughed, and went off on his mini-bus duty.  Remembering as I drove that every one of us at seminary could have put the self-same notice on our doors.  Mind you, God did (and does) continue to work in my friend’s life.  Pogiso is now an Archdeacon and I have not received any preferment at all!  However both of us are secure in the knowledge that neither of us is perfect and both of us – though separated by an ocean and several continents – continue to pray for the gift of patience for the other.

Amy gently pokes fun at those who easily criticise others on the journey of faith for not having passed Sainthood 101 yet.  It is not surprising that we are not all yet perfect.  After all to be a saint, (as Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to teach us) mostly, you have to die first….  Yes, we are called to be ‘our brother’s keeper’ but we must remember that only gives us an obligation to encourage and not a license to judge  (Romans 14.1-12).  But our life of faith cannot be like some roadwork project were we are forever filling in potholes in the tarmac instead of doing the hard work of a complete resurfacing.

When I do look at the parts of my life where there’s still so much of me’ with Amy I pray that what I do wrong may not affect the good I try to do.  It’s the old ‘Do as I preach but not as I practice dilemma’.  At it’s founding the Church of England saw this challenge and one of the 39 Articles of Religion is appropriately named ‘Of the Unworthiness of Ministers’ – the full text is at the foot of this page.  The Article focuses on the sacrament not the minister.  I have found myself, particularly when I ‘mess up’, taking comfort in its words on more than a few occasions!  God does indeed work in and through earthen vessels and even as I continue to ‘run to do evil’ thank heavens some good may come through my deeds.

This is our common journey.  We must learn to not give up on each other and try to see the wheat bearing fruit amongst the tares of life.  We must also not give up on ourselves.  ‘Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet’ is as much a memo to ourselves as a note to others.

In the days of Holy Week I find I see the tares choking my life more easily than I do the wheat that provides flour to make bread to feed others. Each year I need to remember that by the end of the Week someone else carries the cross of my failings as we travel the road to Calvary together…

Wretched man that I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

To Do:

In your prayers today give thanks for one thing that God has changed in your life.

 

To Pray:

When we fall through our weakness or blindness our Lord in his courtesy puts his hand on us, encourages us, and holds on to us.  Only then does he will that we should see our wretchedness, and humbly acknowledge it.  It is not his intention for us to remain like this, nor that we should go to great lengths in our self-accusation, nor that we should feel too wretched about ourselves.  Rather he wants us to look to him.  For he stands there apart, waiting for us to come to him in sorrow and grief.  He is quick to receive us, for we are his delight and joy, and he our salvation and our life.       Mother Julian of Norwich in Pilgrim – Book 1

 

Article XXVI: OF THE UNWORTHINESS OF THE MINISTERS, WHICH HINDERS NOT THE EFFECT OF THE SACRAMENT

ALTHOUGH in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men…

 

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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