Sunday, April 19, 2015

Never Be the Same

When I stop long enough to listen to words of new songs in church, I am usually surprised. While too much of the contemporary worship music field is made up of sappy songs that don't get to the heart of what it means to be a Christian, there are enough that do to make it worth my while to listen.

This happened at the Maundy Thursday service of footwashing and Eucharist. It is one of those discipling songs like "I, the Lord of Sea and Sky" or "Eagle's Wings." It is a hymn of calling, being summoned by God to do the work of being a Christian. It is The Summons, written by John Bell, a Church of Scotland minister and member of the Iona Community.

It grabbed me from the fourth line of the first verse and then settled-in to do a great job of renewing God's call. In the first four verses, lines two and four repeat. Each verse starts with the call of what we could do

"If I [God] but call your name"
then another action step followed by
"And never be the same."
That's the line- right there-
And never be the same.
That's not what we count on when we think about hearing the call, of course. Nothing big, earth shattering. In the modern Christian thinking that "never be the same" is usually translated into some prosperity gospel promise or the wonder of being free from sin.

But that is not what the Gospel call is all about. That whole thing about never being the same comes when we see that who and what we are can be so different when we hear the God of creation call our name through the Son. We are to go and be and make disciples- showing love, sharing The Name and let God's life grow in us.
1. Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?
When we do leave our selves behind and start serving others, like caring for the cruel and kind, we will never be the same- and never look at the world in the same way. Every person I ever went on a mission trip with said that. It is a mark of the Spirit on us.
2. Will you leave yourself behind
If I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
And never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare
Should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer pray’r
In you and you in me?
Being a "secret disciple" the humility of being used for healing and hope, even to kissing the leper and supporting them, will not leave you unchanged- nor will it meet the standards of society either.
3. Will you let the blinded see
If I but call your name?
Will you set the pris’ners free
And never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean,
And do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean
In you and you in me?
There is a child of God hidden within us- as well as the things we do not like about ourselves. When God calls our name, will we never be the same and instead reshape the world. It's not about you or me- it's about the work in the world.
4. Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
If I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
And never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
To reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound
In you and you in me?
The the fifth verse is me talking. If I have been listening to the words I have been singing, it is now my turn. As in here I am Lord, I'm ready. I am willing to never be the same again.
5. Lord, your summons echoes true
When you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
And never be the same.
In your company I’ll go
Where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
In you and you in me.
It is then that I am able and willing to see even more in the Eucharist. It is then that I take the bread and cup and pray that
I will never be the same.
Thanks be to God!

Words: John L. Bell & Graham Maule, copyright © 1987 Wild Goose Resource Group/ WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland.
Melody: 'Kelvingrove', Scots traditional. Reproduced by permission.

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