Monday, 13 September 2010

A Note out of Tune

 The Christian in the west is often filled with the desire to go to the popular Christian festivals, to follow the latest trends in music, in church operation, in how to lead our lives, in reading the right books or believing the latest theories - in short being up to date and switched on.

I wonder though if this is what Jesus really meant when he said we would be in the world but not of the world? Is the gospel message really all about having the biggest church, the latest sounds, the trendiest message or going to the most popular festivals? I think not; but don't get me wrong this is not a rant about these things. The problem seems to me to be that as Christians it is so hard not to adopt or include the ways of the world in our thinking, behaviour and culture.

Are we justified in spending out on the latest CD's, DVD's, books and such - often spending considerable amounts, when we then find it so hard to buy a big issue magazine from a homeless person (for example) or give more than a token amount to help relieve the dire situations in Pakistan or West Africa (to name a few)?

A month or so ago I went to a North London Church to preach and lead and they asked if we could use a song (by Tim Hughes) that they were learning and which I did not know. I fitted it in and was surprised at the feeling it brought in me. I heard it again this weekend when I visited the church my son goes to when he is at University. In the middle of the song it has these words "Stepping forward keep us from just singing. Move us into action".

The gospel is a note out of tune with the ways of this world; we are called to live it out and it needs us to act upon what we sing, what we hear at conferences and what we learn from reading, otherwise these things are a waste of the precious resources God has given us. We should not need to continually top up with more if we live out the gospel in the power of Christ, giving all that we are to him and letting him use us as he directs.

Then the gospel others hear will be a tune they understand as it results in action that brings, comfort, water, food, medicine, justice and shelter as we give up to give to them.

The full lyrics of Tim Hughes song

God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Chose to serve and not be served

Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

We must go live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go

To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in everyway
Walking humbly before You God

You have shown us, what You require
Freely we've received
Now freely we will give

Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out
Fill us up and send us out Lord

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