Living Lent – Day 8

Jeremiah 7: 1-11

Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord.

Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife” – Kahlil Gibran

Music will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in times of care and sorrow will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.” – Debasish Mridha

Some of you may be aware of Shostakovich 7th Symphony that was performed in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) on 9th August 1942 whilst the city was under siege by Nazi German forces. The surviving musicians of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra and some military musicians were starving and three of them died in rehearsal. There was a long standing ovation at the end of the performance that lifted morale and it was subsequently broadcast to German lines as a form of psychological warfare.

The power of music!

Father God we give thanks for the gift of music in our world, for the creativity of those who compose and perform and for the emotions stirred by listening to or performing music. We thank you for the different styles of music we are blessed with at S.J.R. enhancing our worship – from worship band, organ and choir. We thank you for their dedication in preparation week by week. At this time we pray especially for those members of our choir with health problems – praying that they may all be aware of your presence and love during times of uncertainty. As the choir becomes three voice parts instead of four we pray for David in all his preparations for choir practices during this time of change. In faith we pray that all our styles of worship will encourage congregation participation in singing praises to your great name. Amen.

Today we are asked to ponder how the Church can stand alongside those damaged by harmful religious practices. Perhaps there may be occasions when we do not have the words to say and a time of silence holding a hand, some music or the words of a hymn may speak louder of God’s love and understanding than the spoken word. In our daily lives the sharing of that love as a Communicare, League of Friends or Street Pastor volunteer, at work, school, a chat in the street, an understanding smile or a shared cuppa may help to brighten the day for somebody. As Jeremiah tells us in today’s reading “ You know, I too am watching, says the Lord.” Who can we show God’s love to today?

And today by serendipity we have a second reflection for you…

In the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the people of Israel had forgotten what a true relationship with God was like. They practised a “false religion” that was no longer of any value to God. They relied on their historical position as God’s “chosen people” and behaved as if the presence of the Temple in Jerusalem was sufficient to make them right with Him.

Jeremiah reminded them, and he reminds us today, that God desires and expects so much more of us. In a world that is increasingly hedonistic and materialistic, we might be tempted to look at our lives as Christians and assume that we are somehow sufficiently “different” from “everybody else” to make us right with God. But the reality is that we are all broken and in need of forgiveness and grace.

Jesus came to wash away our sins, to make us a holy people, so that we might become “living stones built into a spiritual house” [1 Peter 2:5] – it is only when we are able to confess Christ as our saviour, and to put our trust in Him rather than in our own deeds and behaviour, that we can make ourselves right with God.

Prayer: As you journey through this season of Lent, may you grow closer each day to the One who is closer to us than the air we breathe – the one who would dwell within us – the one who would breathe life into the stones of this living temple.

Ponder… How can the Church stand alongside those damaged by harmful religious practices?

Pray… FOR OUR COMMUNITY Pray for our church musicians; David, our organist, the choir and the worship band. Thank God for the contribution they all make in our worship services. FOR THE WORLD Pray for the gift of music in our world; for the creativity of those who compose and perform, and for the enjoyment which listening to and performing music gives.

Act… Give yourself time to wonder.