#Song4Lent · Bible Study · Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Movie · Musical Theatre

A Song for Lent – Day 37 – Starting Again at the End

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video

Could we Start Again Please?

from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ 

[Mary Magdalene]

I’ve been living to see you.

Dying to see you, but it shouldn’t be like this.

This was unexpected, what do I do now?

Could we start again please?

I’ve been very hopeful, so far.

Now for the first time, I think we’re going wrong.

Hurry up and tell me, this is just a dream.

Oh could we start again please?

[Peter]

I think you’ve made your point now.

You’ve even gone a bit too far to get the message home.

Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a vote,

So could we start again please?

[All]

I’ve been living to see you.

Dying to see you, but it shouldn’t be like this.

This was unexpected, what do I do now?

Could we start again please?

I think you’ve made your point now.

You’ve even gone a bit too far to get the message home.

Before it gets too frightening, we ought to call a vote,

So could we start again please?

Could we start again please? (Repeats)

[Mary Magdalene]

Could we start again?

  

From the Scriptures: 

Jesus came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]

Luke 22.39-44 

To Reflect: 

As we get to the sharp end of Lent and Passiontide it suddenly gets much more serious.

Gone is the gentle banter between friends over Lenten fastings and denials.  The chatter about chocolate, the commitment to extra exercise, the decision to swallow our tongue more frequently.  Now it is all out of our hands and we become spectators in the Theatre of Love.

This is an intense deep time over full of emotions and the prayer of Jesus Burnt Cross Coventry crop_0in Gethsemane is oh so very apt.  Is there any other way this could be done?   Surely love could have been made plain in ways other than this brutal butchering of our Beloved?  But that is to put the God who made and loved everything perfectly in the place of judge and executioner.  The exact opposite of the love shouted from the Cross in the words ‘Father Forgive’.

It is not the One Who Loves us Best who demands a sacrifice to appease an ungodly wrath, it is our own desire to win at all costs and to blame another for our failings that breeds violence.  God didn’t put Jesus on the Cross, this would make a mockery of any view of a loving God.  The Romans egged on by the Jewish Leaders didn’t put Jesus on the Cross, this would make a ‘particularity’ out of a universal condition. It was us.  It was me and you, our forebears and, sadly, our children’s children, whose endless pointless self-seeking and self-serving that crucifies Love every day we live with every breath we take.

‘Could we start again please’? 

It would be so much easier if we could retreat to the Garden and live in harmony with our first parents, gently warning them of the dangers of eating forbidden fruit. Serenely tending the soil and be some sort of latter day Dr Dolittle naming and talking to the animals.  But I suspect that Paradise would rapidly become a prison and, if we were not evicted, we would despoil it just as certainly as we are ruining our Beautiful Planet today.

It seems that the answer our Beloved offers for the pain of our sin and selfishness, is the same that any loving parent offers.  God sees the mess we are in and the violence between ourselves and steps in to calm us even if it means wearing the blows and the bruises, the kicks and the scratches and the wounds, we were aiming at each other.

RHS BaldechinoIn the chapel at the Royal Hospital School there is a grand Baldechino standing over the High Altar.  On it’s face, in gilt woodwork, is a carving of a Mother Pelican in a nest with her hungry brood.  She is gently pecking at her chest and feeding them with her own body and blood.  Down the years this picture has encouraged me to come home to God’s love again and again.  It teaches me of a love greater than my sin and a light brighter than my darkness

‘Could we start again please’?

Yes, we can.

To Pray:  

Lord,
May I ever speak
as though it were the last word that I can speak
May I ever act.
as though it were the last action that I can perform.
May I ever suffer
as though it were the last pain that I can offer.
May I ever pray
as though it were for me on earth
the last Chance to speak to you.

Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focelare Movement, Italy

 

To Do:

1)  Pick up some litter
2)  Look again at the promises you made at the beginning of Lent and offer them to Him anew as a ‘thank you’ for the love poured out on Calvary.

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

The song sung by Jesus in Gethsemane is today’s Scripture words set to music.  It reflects a more traditional understanding of the Atonement than the one I have grown to cherish but regardless of that it shows the deep love and determination of Our Beloved.

 

Acknowledgements:

Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘A Song for Lent – 40 Days in the West End’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2018

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