Today’s reflection comes from Mike.
On Sunday I lead what I would call a ‘reflective worship time’ at Revive. This involved actively listening to two tracks by a band called Thrice, paying particular attention to the lyrics, and reflecting on their meanings.
The first track I selected was called For Miles and it speaks of the fact that sometimes in life terrible things happen, we will struggle and we will fight our way past horrendous and damaging and even debilitating situations. We will accumulate scars that are physical, emotional and psychological. This is as much a part of life as all of the joys that we experience. The point that I was trying to make is one that I find particularly helpful when trying to come into a closer encounter with God. As we seek his presence some of these scars can get in the way. We find ourselves asking questions like ‘Why did that happen?’, ‘If you love me why did you let that happen to me?’ What I love about this song is that it doesn’t try to say that everything is okay, that all of that stuff was part of some ineffable plan from God and that if you have more faith you’ll be fine. It speaks a truth that is harder to hear, but allows a much deeper understanding of God’s love. We hear that actually until we have reached the end of our lives we will carry these wounds. The only way we can bear them more lightly is if we share them with our God, the God who took and still takes all of our suffering onto and into himself. “There’s no greater love than that one shed his blood for his friends.”
The second was called Come All You Weary and offers a different relief. We all pick up stresses and worries and fears and concerns as a result of living in the world. That is normal. God offers us a chance to lay down those problems, even if for a short while, at the foot of his cross and stand before him without the baggage of our lives. To stand fully exposed before the glory of God and bask in his presence or to share a fully open and honest discussion as with a close friend. While this track was playing I encouraged people to think of one of those pieces of baggage that may hold them back from experiencing God at that moment and to write it onto a fizzy vitamin C tablet. These we then placed into a large bowl of water so that we could see the problems melt away.
I like to be more active in my worship, sitting and thinking allows too many distractions into my head. I prefer a little ritual, something to focus my mind and so this activity is perfect with the visual stimulous reflecting the psychological process of letting go of worry and concern. I encourage you this lent to try listening to one or both of these tracks before you pray, allowing yourself the time to get into the right head space to really listen to God with nothing in the way. You can find other music, you can choose not to carry out a physical activity at the time, but I would encourage a few moments of calm, asking God to help you set aside your baggage before stepping into a more open experience of God.
40thoughts: look up
40acts: prayer is like a telephone
Leeds Prayer Diary: Meeting Point