Well... what a weekend that was! A wedding; the FA Cup Final; the Rugby Union Championship semi-finals and the end of the annual Superintendents' Conference... not to mention all the other things that got celebrated or observed or marked in some way by our fellow human beings.
The title of the Superintendents' Conference was 'How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? We listened and conferred about the 'strange land' of legislation; property & GDPR; media and disaster; food poverty and the injustice that is Universal Credit, being reminded to 'remember your call'. We listened and prayed about the 'strange land' that is known as the church and what that says about welcome and the encouragement and call to discipleship and to the prospect of future mission and ministry in ecumenical terms. We were challenged to think about the song we sing as Superintendents — whether it be lament or thanksgiving, is it sung with passion?
Here was the link for me between the events of the weekend in which I had participated as spectator, but into which I had been drawn by the exuberance, joy and shared love within the various events.
I sometimes wish that our singing in worship could be just a little more passionate and upbeat — that is not to say we need a worship band to lead every piece of music or that Charles Wesley is now off the agenda! But sometimes I wish that our singing could better reflect the enormity of the words we are voicing,
"No condemnation now I dread
Jesus and all in him is mine!"
Those who heard 'Blue is the colour' being sung by the victorious Chelsea fans on Saturday or listened to the 'Tomahawk Chop' being sung by Exeter Chiefs fans were left in no doubt as to where their allegiance lies. In our case, it is not just about singing the same song ever louder, as the Secretary of Conference said to the Superintendents,
"We must deny neither the pain nor the joy... but we will be more defined by lament if we lose sight of what/where God has/is placing us... We are Easter people and our song is 'Alleluia'."
And then there was that sermon! Bishop Michael Curry said,
"The power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we're all here. Two young people fell in love and we all showed up."
But he began by quoting Martin Luther King Jr.,
"We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way."
May we rediscover our passion and our song of love for God, his creation and the whole of humanity.