Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant
Day 38 – Maundy Thursday
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
From the Scriptures:
7 …whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3.7-11)
From Amy Grant: So Glad
I had laid some mighty plans
Thought I held them in my hands
Then my world began to crumble all away
I tried to build it back again
I couldn’t bear to see it end
How it hurt to know You wanted it that way
And I’m so glad, glad to find the reason
That I’m happy-sad that You’ve torn it all away
I’m so glad, though it hurts to know I’m leaving
Everything I ever thought that I would be.
Once I held it in my hand
It was a kingdom made of sand
But now you’ve blown it all away
I can’t believe that I can say that I’m glad.
Long before my plans were made
I know a master plan was laid
With a power that superseded my control
And if that truth could pierce my heart
I wouldn’t wander from the start
Trying desperately to make it on my own
And I’m so glad, glad to find the reason…
There was a time when, because of something I said, our family lost almost everything.
Our furniture was sold cheaply or given away, our cat was re-homed and our dogs were put to sleep, and we found ourselves with one suitcase of possessions for each of us. Our little family left everything they knew and went to live in a far away place where only the ‘Head of the House’ – who didn’t feel that he was quite fulfilling that role – had lived before. There was much crying, confusion, and even anger. I guess our family felt just a little bit like Ruth following Naomi, as we became strangers in a strange land. (Ruth 1.16-17).
I try to tell myself that this happened through no fault of my own: though as I have grown older I realise that I should have been a little more worldly-wise and not have presumed on the good behaviour of others. For me the scripture about being sent out as sheep amongst wolves and needing to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves came suddenly alive. (Matthew 10.16).
We had planned so much, only to discover that we were living in a ‘kingdom made of sand’. Being ‘glad’ was at the bottom of the words I would have used to describe how we felt. But it was this song of Amy’s (along with the prayers of the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete) that sustained me during this time of desolation and desertion by almost all of my friends and colleagues.
I do not for one moment believe that God desired for that hurt and pain to descend on our family. He has proved Himself time and time again to be the One Who Loves us Best; whose burden is light and whose yoke is easy. (Matthew 11.30). No, God did not intend this disaster, but we were held through it all by an enduring love and an eternal plan that continues to be our guide and our strength.
It is very, very hard when things do not work out how we plan them to be. This is especially so when our plans have involved giving everything away in His service. But, as we work within the smallness of our own particular plans it helps to remember the bigger plan that encompasses all of our comings and goings.
At the end of the last book of the Narnia Chronicles C.S. Lewis says this;
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. (The Last Battle)
All our plans, our castles in the sand, are but the cover and the title page of what is yet to come. We live within a ‘greater story’. David Watson’s words ring out again and again ‘The best is yet to be!’
In the Cursillo community, and if anyone ever invites you to attend a Cursillo (or Emmaus Walk) weekend please say yes, the pilgrims are called to help each other along the harder parts of the journey with cries of ‘Ultreya’! Press onward! When circumstance (or a divine nudging or even sometimes barging!) comes along and changes the planned route we must learn to rejoice that every step is a step closer to home.
I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3.12)
Cast your mind back to a time of disappointment and let go of it.
It seems very easy to say that we will surrender our will to someone until we try it and find that it is much the hardest thing we can do if we carry it our fully. The Lord knows what each of us can bear in this regard and, when God sees that one of us is strong, he does not hesitate to fulfil his will in us. For my own part, I believe that love is the measure of our ability to bear crosses, whether great or small. (Teresa of Avila in Pilgrim – Book 4)
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.