#SongInMyHeart · Bible Study · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · poem · Prayer

 With a Song in my Heart – Day 8

 With a Song in my Heart – 40 Days of Sacred Songs

Day 8 – Thursday after 1st Sunday of Lent

 

To Listen:           Everything is Beautiful

                           (Jesus Loves the Little Children)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a45z_HG3WU

 

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

 

From the Scriptures:

 13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

(Mark 10v13-16)

To Reflect:

Towards the middle of 1975, after my father retired from the Royal Navy he signed a contract to join the South African Navy and the whole family boarded the good ship RMS Pendennis Castle and sailed for Cape Town.  We had been in Cape Town for less than a week when we realised that the promises of the recruiting brochures and a South Africa that was moving towards a bright democratic future was a mirage that vanished as quickly as the early morning cloud called the Tablecloth disappeared from Table Mountain.

table cloth table mountain

We had heard about a thing called Apartheid.  After all my mother had made me vet my collection of LPs and I had to leave behind anything by groups with mixed artists and ‘edgy’ things such as Jesus Christ Superstar!  But we thought Apartheid was just a political viewpoint and not a hard physical reality.

In the mid 70s, just as the policy of giving ‘independence’ to so called ‘homelands’ was beginning to be put in place, the rest of ‘White’ South Africa was flexing its muscles.  There weren’t as in the USA in the time of Rosa Parks, segregated busses there were separate busses and even separate bus stops – sometimes next to each other.  All public building had two entrances, one for ‘Blanke’ (White People) and the others for ‘Nie-Blanke’ (Not-White People).  It seemed that saying the word ‘Black’ was to give too much entitlement. Doctors and Dentists had separate entrances.  Black and White people could not use the same restaurant or public toilets or Bar or Hotel.  However, somewhat ludicrously, Black and White people could swim in the same ocean but not from the same beach!  Black and White people were not even allowed to go to Church together.

net nie blankesApartheid was evil, it was enforced by violence, and it was justified by Christians misquoting verses of the Bible and likening Black people to the Children of Ham whom God had punished and amongst whose descendants were the Gibeonites and so only fit to be Hewers of wood and drawers of water’Sadly the world continues to see various forms of Apartheid in many societies.

But we were a young family enjoying a new wide open land and were unaware of the privilege that had been thrust upon us.  Only as the years passed did we realise the true horror of things.  I remember my younger brother and I talking about my experiences of separateness at church (he has not been an avid churchgoer) and he turned to me and started to preach about today’s song.  He could not comprehend that Christian people excluded anyone and, in awe and confusion sang softly to me;

Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight

Thankfully, Apartheid has ended in South Africa.  Though the Rainbow Nation will suffer its consequences for several decades.  Just today my Brother-in-Law in Jeffrey’s Bay had to cut our internet time together short as he was heading into Load Shedding. But what happens now is better than what was happening then, and the future will be better still.

But the tendency to prejudice, especially Colour Prejudice (often misnamed Racial Prejudice) remains an endemic disease amongst many nations and even churches.  The saddest thing is that not everyone notices that they are prejudiced and take offence when this may be suggested.  Have you ever heard someone begin an argument with the words, ‘Some of my best friends are Black’, which are followed a little while later by the word ‘…but’.

Sadly the same applies to other prejudices.

If you add the hashtag #MeToo to a Social Media Post hackles are raised and people are reminded that men are sexually abused as well as women – as if that prevents anyone from acting to prevent either.

Come out as an LGBTQIA+ ally (or just ‘come out’ as yourself) and you will find people asking ‘What about “Straight Pride”’

Celebrate International Women’s Day and people will protest that there is no International Men’s Day (Its on 19 November every year).

And of course if someone dare say #BlackLivesMatter there will be the comeback that ‘All Lives Matter’. 

Being the slightly perverse person I am every time I raise the Progress Pride flag on our Parish Flagpole and people ask me what it is I tell them, tongue firmly in cheek, that it is the ‘All Lives Matter flag as it does have ALL the colours.

Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world…

Our Scripture passage today happens immediately after Jesus placed a child in the midst of his squabbling disciples and proclaims the little ones to be the greatest.  It didn’t take long for them to forget his lesson – just 24 verses later they are shooing children away.  Friends, may we always be more attentive to the words of our Master than they were.

Progress Pride - St John's

 

To Pray:

God of heaven,
look with mercy on all who are consumed
by ignorance and greed,
and let the children of earth know
that you are God for ever.

(Psalm 14)

To Do:

1)  Have you ever taken a course in Unconscious Bias Training?  What is there to stop you from completing one as a discipline this Lent?

2)  This may be hard.  If you realise that you have been prejudiced towards someone do them an anonymous kindness.

 

Reprise:              Goodness is Stronger than Evil

Later on in these reflections I will be writing about the wonderful human being that was Desmond Mpilo Tutu.  But for now here is a prayer of his which has been set to music by John Bell of the Iona Community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVutvjja2QA

 

Goodness is stronger than evil;
Love is stronger than hate;
Light is stronger than darkness;
Life is stronger than death;
Victory is ours through Him who loves us.

Please Note:  These reflections are also published on my blog: suffolkvicarhomes.com on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin

If you would like them as a daily email please send a request to vicar@felixparish.com

 

Acknowledgements:

Prayers are adapted from the Psalm Prayers in the Common Worship Psalter. material from which is included here, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2005

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

These Reflections, ‘With a Song in my Heart’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2022

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