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

With a Song in my Heart – Day 20

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

Day 20 – Thursday after 3rd Sunday of Lent

To Listen:                    Reconciled

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNfaYnk-0ho

Reconciled, I’m reconciled,
I’m reconciled to God for ever;
know he took away my sin,
I know his love will leave me never.
Reconciled, I am his child,
I know it was on me he smiled;
I’m reconciled, I’m reconciled to God.
Hallelujah…

I’m justified, I’m justified,
it’s just as if I’d never sinned,
and once I knew such guilty fear,
but now I know his peace within me.
Justified, I’m justified,
it’s all because my Jesus died;
I’m justified, I’m justified by God.
Hallelujah…

I’ll magnify, I’ll magnify,
I’ll magnify his name for ever;
wear the robe of righteousness
and bless the name of Jesus, Saviour;
magnify the One who died,
the One who reigns for me on high;
I’ll magnify, I’ll magnify my God.

 

From the Scriptures:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

(2 Corinthians 5v16-21)

To Reflect:

Kieran and Kelsey 2016I have a niece and a nephew, Kieran and Kelsey, who are twins and live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  They are part of what has come to be known as the ‘Born Free Generation’ having been born after the official end of Apartheid.  New nations are not born after a single (or even several democratic elections) and they take time to grow and blossom.  But when they grow they grow first amongst the young, who have hope bubbling out of their hearts and do not have to carry the burden of the past as much as their forebears.  Freedom also grows amongst the young first since, as any parent of an adolescent knows, they wake up each morning asking almost incessantly ‘Why?’

In Johannesburg I saw this hope even before the end of Apartheid amongst the young people who attended ‘Happening’ weekends.  (Today’s song was one of their favourites).  Happening, along with Cursillo and Marriage Encounter, were originally Roman Catholic movements growing out of the Second Vatican Council, which took the idea of a Lay Apostolate seriously.  Yes, you had to have a vicar around on the weekend to preside at the Eucharist and hear an occasional Confession, but the key talks of the weekend were given by lay people.  At Marriage Encounter loved up Couples shared talks – finishing each other’s sentences – about the joys and challenges of marriage and family life.  In Cursillo lay leaders give ‘Witness Talks’ about the way they live out their faith.  And at Happening, somewhere in the middle of a hectic time of Barn Dances, icebreakers and drama sketches, Young People would give their testimony.

Happening_Color_Logo

Bearing in mind this was 1980s Apartheid just going away together for a weekend with youngster of a different skin colour was all about reconciliation.  Did they make friends and fall in love?  Of course they did!  Did these relationships persist?  Well the friendships yes but, sadly, the love was forbidden by law.  Although some relationships blossomed – I remember especially Nomsa and John who had to flee the country and live in Zimbabwe for a while. If we proclaim a Gospel of reconciliation we should not be surprised when reconciliation happens and I continued to remain grateful for the way adolescent always call me to be just, kind and humble (Micah 6v8).

One of the challenges brought to us by contemporary hymnody (from 100 Hymns for Today in 1969 onwards) is that the language has tended to move from First Person plural (We) to First Person Singular (Me).  So today’s song, taken in isolation can be all about me (cue achingly beautiful song  from Matt Redman) and not about the Body of Christ.  In South Africa with its well-publicised concept of togetherness known as uBuntu, this is not so much of a challenge, but in more individualised ‘Western’ nations it can spell disaster for the Body of Christ.

not about me not about you‘All this’ our Scripture passage reminds us, ‘is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation’.  We are challenged to recognise that reconciliation is not only ‘all about me’ but all about others.  It is only when we are reconciled with our sisters and brothers and even our enemies that we are able to understand how beautiful and liberating is the reconciliation won for us on the cross.  Yes, there are some things that will not be fixed in this life and most of us, like Jacob, will limp towards the dawn, but at least we are travelling in the right direction.

Come, limp with me.

(P.S. Kieran and Kelsey are now both parents and, with their new families and children, are a living testimony to the ‘New South Africa’.  Refusing to see colour they only see love and hope.)

 

To Pray:  

Lord, when faith is faint
and speech veils our intentions,
restore us by your word of power and purity,
both now and for ever.

(Psalm 12)

 

To Do:

1)  Before Easter dawns take steps to be reconciled to someone from whom you are estranged.

2)  Write your own ‘Witness Talk’ or testimony about God’s work in your life.  Then, if you feel called, share it with a friend, send it to your church newsletter, or even tell your story out loud in your church or home group.

 

Reprise:                       The Spirit Lives to Set us Free

This song was another Happening favourite and helped everyone remember to thank God for ‘making us, us’ rather than just ‘making me, me’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzU9Dv7ZXVY

The Spirit lives to set us free,
walk, walk in the light.
He binds us all in unity,
walk, walk in the light

Walk in the light, (x3)
walk in the light of the Lord.

Jesus promised life to all,
walk, walk in the light.
The dead were wakened by his call,
walk, walk in the light.

He died in pain on Calvary,
walk, walk in the light,
to save the lost like you and me,
walk, walk in the light.

We know his death was not the end,
walk, walk in the light.
He gave his Spirit to be our friend,
walk, walk in the light.

By Jesus’ love our wounds are healed,
walk, walk in the light.
The Father’s kindness is revealed,
walk, walk in the light.

The Spirit lives in you and me,
walk, walk in the light.
His light will shine for all to see,
walk, walk in the light.

Damian Lundy (1944-1997)

 

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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