Monday, 23 September 2019

Song of defiance, solidarity and hope

I WONDER if you have been able to tear yourself away from Brexit recently and observe events unfolding in Hong Kong.

There have been massive demonstrations and considerable civic unrest, met by serious police brutality, all over an extradition bill which has many ordinary citizens of Hong Kong worried and which must have as its ultimate source the authoritarian communist regime in China.

Despite the violence of the police, the protestors have returned again and again and they have been singing. What seems to have become something of an anthem in that tense situation is the chorus of a Christian song, Sing Alleluia to the Lord, a modern song about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The chorus has the virtue, in those circumstances, of being very easy, just one line repeated.

Now I don’t suppose that all of those many thousands of demonstrators are serious Christians, though I suspect a good number must be. So what do they mean by it?

Some will mean: “We are here and we are singing!” We are not hiding away in fear, we are not intimidated and the tear gas, the beatings and rubber bullets are not going to drive us away. Truth and justice are more important to us than running from those who plan to hurt us.

Bullets are not arguments, beatings are not justice, might does not make right. Whatever you do, we are still singing. A song of defiance.

Others will mean: “We are here and we are singing — together.” You may want us to be more afraid for our own skin than we are afraid of betraying our cause and deserting our friends but we stand together, a (relatively) small group, against the might and the arrogance of a state that thinks it can do what it likes with us.

We have a common cause which we will not betray, we will not be divided by bullying or brutality. We are singing together. A song of solidarity.

Christians there will mean: “We are here singing this worship song to a mighty God who raises the dead.” And because his son Jesus is alive, so your “ultimate sanction” is called into question and you have no authority over those whom you cannot intimidate with the fear of death.

Empires have fallen, persecutions have come and gone, but the church and it’s faith have endured through it all because our life, our hope and our abiding joy is hidden with Christ in God where you cannot touch them.

There is a greater government than yours to which one day you will have to give an account for the use of your power and position.

So we sing to remind you and ourselves of the reality of God, of the victory of his son, of the truth of his promises, of the coming judgement we shall all face. We are singing in worship, and that is a song of hope.

All their songs are good songs, all worth singing. Please keep them in your prayers if you are one who prays.

Meanwhile, I wonder what songs you sing, to whom, and why?

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