What song was that?
Was there a song at all, or was it the whisper of tiredness from an unseen cosmic battle.
The Easter story is full of drama, but what was the musical score. We go to the movies and in the background behind the storyline there is music. If you’re a Lord of the Ring fan just contrast the happy light music of life in Hobbiton to that of the music when those hairy Hobbit feet climbed Mount Mordor or battled those Orcs.
Music fills out the background of life.
I was in the vegetable garden at Chapel Downs Primary School the other day when all of a sudden I heard music coming from one of the classrooms. The class was singing the national anthem.
I tell you, those kids certainly know how to sing. It was like each child was competing with every other child to see who could sing it with more gusto. It was only one classroom but the air was filled with song.
At the end of last year the school gathered together in the hall for prize giving. 600 children’s voices plus teachers, parents, and a few odd strays like the gardener shook the neighbourhood with song as the national anthem was sung.
Music has a power both to stir up and to calm down. To send a message with tones that resonate deep within.
Music is a mystery. Just how do those quivering unseen wave lengths affect the soul? Why does music have such a powerful effect on us?
God created music to reverberate something of God’s own nature into us and through us.
What is the song you are listening to? What is the anthem, or theme song that you are tuned into?
As I look through scripture I find song, music, anthems, praise, laments.
Nadia Bolz-Weber recently put it well in a message she gave.
In the beginning God – the source and ground of all being – set the universe into motion through sound and self-giving in a love song that set it all into motion. saying, Let there be Light.
God so loved the world that God gave God’s own breath to speak into existence that which was not – and then God so loved the world that God gave God’s breath another time, breathing into dust to create humanity.
Through dust and the very breath of divine love we were created. In the image of the songwriter we were created, and we too were given voice and language and breath and song.
And that love song of creation continued, but we tended to create our own melodies in another rhythm, in another key, in our own scale.
So there is the song of life which rings through eternity and then there are human-generated temporary alternate songs. With our own breath, language, voice, we still tend to create our own rhythm and melodies – that we think will save us, songs of domination, violence, greed, and power.
And so once again, God’s breath was given to us…through sound and self-giving: only this time, the sound interrupted the din of the Roman empire. This time, God’s divine love song was heard in the cry of a new-born baby.
For God so loved the world that God gave God’s self to it in the form of a son. This was such a big deal that angels sang back up – the heavenly hosts joined in the divine love song interrupting our regularly scheduled program of soldiers and taxes and purity codes.
God so loved this corrupt world of empires and victims and violence that God gave God’s self to us. God so loved the world that God came to us in the most vulnerable and fragile way possible.
God so loved the world God created, that God walked among us as love.
But not the us kind of love. Our love is limited by self-interest, biology and time. No, this love takes no account of opinion or history, but insists on ignoring information we think of as important: data about worth, beauty, status.
For God so loved the world, for God so loved soldiers and prostitutes and traitors and unwed mothers and soccer moms and CEOs and ex-cons and Burger King janitors that God gave of God’s self in the form of Jesus. And Jesus was like a clearer set of lyrics so that we might be saved from the noise of sin and self-preservation. So that we might not perish.
But be reminded again of the true beat, the real rhythm, the clear lyrics of the song of creation and salvation that is life and that is eternal.
And those who heard this tune, began to sing it to others, they wrote about it in Gospels and hymns and we here in this room, maybe for only a moment a breath a flicker, hear it for ourselves and we know it is life and it is here and it always has been and always will be.
It is eternal life and it is for you. Don’t try and believe it. Just hear it. After all, Brother Martin Luther once said, “a person becomes a Christian, not by working but by listening. Nadia Bolz-Weber
How was Jesus resurrected? How did it happen? What medically happened here?
It wasn’t a resuscitation with the angels giving the body C.P.R. Grabbing jumper leads, shouting ‘clear’, jumping back, slapping on paddles and kicking the body into life.
This physical body was dead as dead can be. It was pierced by a Roman spear. Jesus was dead as any corpse in a grave. Yet now he was alive. He was recognisable and better still there was gloriousness to his appearance. His skin never looked better!
The song of God was sung into a dark tomb.
I believe in the Resurrection.
When I am in my darkest depression I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of strife I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of relational breakdown I remember the Resurrection.
When I hear of terminal illness I remember the Resurrection.
When I feel anxiety and fear knocking at my door I remember the Resurrection.
The problem though, is, for a Resurrection to happen, for a new song to be sung there must be a death, a complete and final death.
For new life to spring out there must be a death.
There has to be a change. The old self protective clothing we have worn must be laid to the side if we are to have new garments to wear.
Richard Rohr write this …
All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody. Richard Rohr
If we are truly honest with ourselves we don’t want the stuff in us to die. That means potential shame, of acknowledging I got it wrong, of vulnerability, of exposure, of humbling oneself, of brokenness, of sacrifice.
Resurrection Sunday is not the time, if there ever is one, to start judging the lives of others. ‘That person over there needs to die in this area, they need to stop doing …’
We need the logs in our own eyes to be taken and formed into crosses where our prejudices are put to death.
Resurrection Sunday is a time of looking beyond a grave into a garden, a morning, a voice, a song.
Note what Mary did. She went into the tomb, the place of internment. Here where her dreams had been buried, something miraculous was revealed.
Where there is great love there are always miracles. Willa Cather
What song are you listening to? Is it the song of your own making, lyrics you have chosen and refuse to let go of.
Want to sing a new glorious resurrection song? Then you need to let the old song die.
God’s grace to me is that my brokenness is not the final word. Nadia Bolz-Weber
God’s grace to us is that Jesus death was not the final word, and so there is hope.
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