Saturday 28th February
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything,
tell God all your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.
“Things often work out perfectly. When they do I return thanks to God for it.
Sometimes everything goes wrong.
When it does I bless God for that equally, and offer it as a sacrifice.
Once this surrender is made, God tends to sort things out.”
– Jean Pierre de Caussade
Surrendering is not about giving in, but allowing God in.
Today’s reflection is by Jane
The other day I took another look at a book called Praying Twice (by Brian Wren) that I first read 10 years when a student. In a survey conducted among clergy and laity, they were asked “What is the most meaningful musical activity in worship?” “Anthems” said 41% of the musicians (but only 7% of the clergy). “Hymns” said 79% of the clergy (but only 38% of the musicians).
I have a fondness for a particular anthem for four-part choir by Purcell titled ‘Rejoice in the Lord Alway’. He used the King James Version of the Bible in which today’s text is translated as:
“Be careful for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God’.
I have looked in various hymnbooks for a hymn based on the text but found only one that came near in sentiment but not in text – so on this occasion my vote falls on the musicians’ side in favour of anthems!
What I particularly like about the anthem is Philippians 4 v. 7-8:
“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It reminds me that however angry, depressed or anxious I might be about someone or a certain situation, in sharing it with God I am beginning to work through that emotion. It may feel uncomfortable and strange and be a struggle. For a while the best I can do might be to say, along with Nicola Slee in her poem Prayer for Friends Turned Enemy:
“I do not know how to pray [for them]. I cannot pray [with them]. I have only anger and rage and pain and confusion [to bear them]. God, you alone are faithful. Accept the prayer I cannot make.”
I may need to go on saying this until I can accept these bits of me I feel uncomfortable with and dislike, until I can meet myself in their strangeness, “and greet my God in the discovery of strangers become friends”.(from Welcome the Stranger, also by Nicola Slee).
What hymn, or other music, calls you to prayer? Makes your love ‘something real and
active’? (1 John 3 v.18)
Bless the Lord my soul, and bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul, who leads me into life.
(If you would like to hear ‘Rejoice in the Lord Alway’ go to YouTube and enter Souvigny Sidney Sussex Henry Purcell Rejoice in the Lord Alway in the Search box.)