Friday, 19 October 2018

Thought for the week

IT is so easy to take something for granted. On the daily commute to work we

IT is so easy to take something for granted. On the daily commute to work we expect the road to be clear, maybe it won’t be; we expect the train to turn up on time, maybe it doesn’t.

Sometimes things go wrong but whatever the situation, we don’t expect to see change on that journey.

If something changes it will attract our attention. If something different in our routine occurs we take note. It’s very easy for things to pass us by without notice.

I was once asked to play the organ at a nearby church for a service of morning prayer.

Not being familiar with the settings they used for the canticles, the rector decided they would say them and in doing so said that because they were not being sung, the congregation would take more note of them because of the change. This wasn’t because the singing or my playing would have been bad but because it would be  different.

The most important prayer we use is the Lord’s Prayer. How often do we say that prayer without taking in the words we are using?

We do sometimes have variations, we might on occasions sing it, or at least hear it being sung. We may say it in the traditional or the modern version. If it’s the version we are not used to, it may pull us up and we might think about the meaning of the words.

As a Lent course this year, we have been studying the Pilgrim Course on the Lord’s Prayer. Time and again we say this prayer but it isn’t until we look at the words in detail that we really see what it is that’s being said. What do we mean by “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” or “lead us not into temptation”?

Then what about hymns? At Christmas and Harvest, we use hymns that are used only at that time of the year. In Advent and at Christmas we have our carols, which are familiar and liked but are used only for a short period, and at Harvest we sing hymns that are used generally for only one Sunday.

At Lent and Easter some hymns like Thine Be The Glory we might use at other times; others like All Glory Laud And Honour or There Is A Green Hill Far Away we tend to restrict to this time.

Although we might bemoan using certain hymns rarely, that does cause us to take note of the words. If we use them too regularly, too many times during the year, then we become over-familiar with them and they risk losing their meaning.

Good Friday is the day each year which we as Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus but that leads us into the most tremendous day in the Christian calendar on Sunday.

And as we sing those hymns, we do need to listen to the words “Risen,  conquering, Son”.

The seasons of the Church may change, the readings may change, the hymns may change, but God doesn’t change. God still speaks to us. What we have to do is to make sure we listen and not to assume that we don’t need to because we think we have heard it before.

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