Friday, August 23 2019
In the very early morning, I wake up at times with an idea for a sermon or a piece for The Chalice and I think about it; I toss and turn as I think about it; I can't get back to sleep as I think about it. And then I remember my little note pad that Sue placed on my night table next to the bed more than 20 years ago—and I still just lie in bed and think about it as the minutes fly by, sometimes until the alarm goes off. But, at last, not this past Monday, and so, as I am prone to do at this stage of my life, I hoisted myself out of bed, walked down the hall into my office, and began to write this rambling little piece, interrupted just once by Susan who asked, “What are you doing?” I thought it best not to reply; that could wait. So let us back up to a day earlier.
Last Sunday, after the baptism was over and the table had been set, I stood at the altar, drenched in perspiration in spite of the A/C, Gatorade near, and listened to the choir sing “Journey to Freedom.” I could not help but join in, though not obtrusively, so thoroughly immersed was I in this song about the call of God, this extended invitation by Jesus to “Come with [him] on a journey” into light, into loving light. And then I made the leap to this morning's Old Testament lesson and Jeremiah being known in the womb before he was born, and the gospel and a woman in pain then a multitude of songs erupting at once, all between 1:15 and 1:30, all insistent, and for once I wrote. Little more than a decade ago, Lucy Beckett, a wonderful British writer, wrote In the Light of Christ that literature and art and music have a way of inspiring for the Christian a meaning that is richer and deeper than the meaning found in them by those “for whom God is an empty word.” Just one quick illustration. The rest will be in the sermon.
Andrew Lloyd Webber burst on the scene of my sleepy and incurably romantic imagination with a piece from Aspects of Love: “Love, Love Changes Everything.” Romantic love, a love caught up in the raptures of whatever it was when Webber first heard the music inside him. But what if, what if just one word was changed in the song, what if love was changed to God? I came to the line in the first stanza, “Love, love changes everything, how you live and how you die.” I believe that's true, but I believe that it is also more deeply true that “God, God changes everything,” that God redefines life and death as we come to know him in Jesus Christ. Answer the call of Jesus and he will “turn your world around and that world will last forever.” Indeed, the risen God we know in Jesus Christ will “never ever let us be the same.” Just a snippet; try it sometime—just not at 1:15 am.
With all blessings for the journey into the joy of the risen Lord,