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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bring me to life

Here is my sermon from yesterday's Choral Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

On their debut album, entitled Fallen, the rock band Evanescence combined metallic power pop with spiritual lyrics with gothic imagery. ‘Bring me to life’ is a song about a personal resurrection; one that could, perhaps, have been sung by Lazarus (John 11. 1 - 45):

'Bring me to life'

“Bring me to life,” “wake me up inside”; these are helpful images and phrases for reflecting on the experience of resurrection. Another band, The Harbour Lights, sing:

“How easily we forget
The grace with which we started
How quickly we become
Tied up and locked away
Bound by our own frustrations
Till all our senses numb

Awaken from the Winter
To the colours of the Spring
Keep your heart wide open
So you do not miss a thing
For all the birds are singing
It’s time for resurrection
It’s time for letting go
Of all the things that might have been
For living out your promises
And dusting off your dreams
Time for you to fly again
time for resurrection" (‘Resurrection’)

Resurrection, as imaged in these songs, is about being freed from the bounds of our own frustrations which numb our senses. As we are brought to life, we come alive to the colours of the Spring with hearts which are open so we do not miss a thing. This is an understanding of resurrection in which we can all potentially participate.

So how, where and when do you come alive or experience resurrection? To help you think about your answer to that question, here are some occasions and ways in which I have experienced resurrection:

I come alive

When I stand in snow on a mountain slope viewing a cobalt lake,
I come alive.
When the morning mist forms a white sea on the Somerset levels, islanding trees,
I come alive.
When my daughter nestles up and hugs me tight,
I come alive.
When my wife and I lie, skin touching, sweat mingling in the heat of summer and passion,
I come alive.
When a friend listens with understanding and without advising,
I come alive.
When I sing and dance in the echoes of an empty Church,
I come alive.
When words cannot express Your praise and I sing in tongues,
I come alive.
When I hear the rustle of angel’s wings above me in the eaves,
I come alive.

I come alive to endurance
when I see a hesitant smile form on the face of the Big Issue seller.
I come alive to pain
when I hear a friend’s story of depression and unanswered pleading.
I come alive to patience
when I see a husband answer again the question from his alzheimered wife.
I come alive to injustice
when the Metro contrasts Big Mac obesity lawsuits with African famine victims.
I come alive to suffering
when I see Sutherland’s Crucifixion and read Endo’s Silence.
I come alive to grief
when I remember the aircraft shattered and scattered across Kosovan heights.

I come alive
when I am touched and see and hear
the beautiful or broken, the passionate or poor.
The mystery or madness
of the Other in which God
meets and greets me
and calls forth the response
that is love.

Let us pray … Lord Jesus, we are frozen inside without your touch, without your love. You are the life among the dead, so wake us up inside. Call our names and save us from the dark. Bid our blood to run before we come undone, save us from the nothing we’ve become. Bring us to life. Amen.


Evanescence - Bring Me To Life.

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