Sunday

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So I am still struggling with Romans 5:1-5 (the kind of thing, once said that has the same reaction as ‘I am an accountant’ at parties…) so I am trying another way this week.

I found this during the week, and I should have used it:-

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2013/05/sermon-on-why-hope-and-vapid-optimism-are-not-the-same-thing/

It immediately attracted my attention when I read this:-

‘I’ve said it before but Whenever I am in a real mess of pain, when a relationship has ended or I am in some kind of emotional suffering, and some well meaning Christian says “Well, when God closes a door, he opens a Window” I start immediately looking around for that open window so I can push them out of it. Which is to say, I don’t find ignoring the difficult reality of our lives in favor of some kind of blindly cheerful optimism to be hopeful I find it to be delusional’.

…and I wanted to yell ‘preach it sister!’

And then, in between reading an ‘airport novel’ (well my brain needs a rest), I have been reading Kester Brewin ‘Other’ which is singing my song. I underlined this, which has a similar theme:-

‘So many churches have become afraid of the dark. Driven by success and the need to keep the money coming in to keep up the payments and keep the vibe positive, all mention of the night is avoided.‘ (p66).

Memo to self: keep it real today.

Songs of Redemption opus 9

cash american 5

Bono said of Johnny Cash that he was like a cougar walking through a room of poodles. I got into Johnny Cash comparitively late in his career; just after he was being rehabilitated by Rick Rubin…. to hear his take on ‘One’ ,’The ‘Mercy Seat’ and ‘Hurt’ is to be taken to another place- familiar songs in his hands became something else.

The last proper album he ever released was American V: a hundred highways. It is a terrific, broken, emmotional record; the songs breathed out by a man who knew that his last breath was coming. I guess it is a kind of last will and testament.

‘Help Me’, the opening track on the album caused me to cry the first time I heard it. I have never heard a prayer uttered with such integrity and brokenness ever. If I ever wanted to write a ‘Christian song’ and I was all geared up, ready and then someone played this track, I would give up: I would know that anything I attempted could never be a hundredth as good.

I may be breaching all the copyright laws in the world (but it’s Sunday- this is your prayer for the day) but I will cite all the lyrics. But if you read them, you have to promise to listen to the song…

Oh, lord, help me walk
Another mile, just one more mile;
I’m tired of walkin’ all alone.

And lord, help me to smile
Another smile, just one more smile;
Don’t think I can do things on my own.

I never thought I needed help before;
Thought that I could get by – by myself.
But now I know I just can’t take it any more.
And with a humble heart, on bended knee,
I’m beggin’ You please for help

Oh come down from Your golden throne to me, to lowly me;
I need to feel the touch of Your tender hand.
Release the chains of darkness
Let me see, Lord let me see;
Just where I fit into your master plan.

I never thought I needed help before;
Thought that I could get by – by myself.
Now I know I just can’t take it any more.
And with a humble heart, on bended knee,
I’m beggin’ You please for help
With a humble heart, on bended knee,
I’m beggin’ You please for help.

And sung with ‘that’ voice, but breaking and cracking….never ever dare to watch the X factor and say that a singer ‘had emotion’ in their voice…

It is very disturbing…..

I was looking through the Observer Music monthly one breakfast this week (it is called ‘paying attention to your children’) when I happened to notice their charts. For no good reason my eyes alighted on the current ‘Top 5 country albums’. I don’t know why I did that: country music has as much interest to me as the ‘Ferret breeding and crocheting monthly’.

But it was very disturbing. I found that I had two of the top 5. I find this deeply shocking: like I discovered I had, unbeknown to me, joined the Conservative Party, the George Bush appreciation society and had a full collection of Princess Di memorial teatowels.

They did turn out to be Johnny Cash ‘American IV’ and ‘American V’ though. I defy anyone in possesion of emotions not to cry at the last one…. or not to shed bucketloads at the film of ‘Hurt’. But still- Johnny Cash….country….he is better than that.

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Yes…in a world of pain and alienation…this is what really gets me….

Quote of the Day

Q magazine, March 2009, p21: ’10 best country break up song titles’. There are some real beauties there; I may post more during the next few weeks. However, for today, it is the immortal Johnny Cash (who featured in my circuit service tonight, along with Keane, Sufjan Stevens, The Smiths, Martyn Joseph, Moby,U2, and…erm Paul Field):

‘I’ve been flushed from the bathroom of your heart’.

Marvellous.