Thoughts for Thursday 25th June 2020

Psalm 13; Micah 7:18-20; Galatians 5:2-6

 

Thursday 25 June - Rev.  Jerry  Eve

 

We’ve just 14 verses today all told, but it is always quality rather than quantity, and these are three great readings. Our psalm, because of its fourfold use of the phrase ‘How long’ in the first two verses, reminded the Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892), of a person sobbing, and so he cleverly called it the Howling rather than ‘how long’ Psalm. It’s divided into three sections of two verses each, each of which can then be characterised, it seems to me, by the three words: Protest, Prayer and Praise; which is quite good spirituality: There’s an issue in our lives, we pray about it, and then we act. Sometimes, of course, we fail to act, but one of the great things about prayer is that it can help to prevent us from re-acting.

 

Our passage from Micah is a bit odd in that it’s the very end of that prophetic book. What that then does, however, is the remind us of all that precedes chapter 7. As Christians, Micah 5:2, for example, is important for that’s where we find that verse which Matthew then reverses the meaning of in his Gospel: “The Lord says, ‘Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”

 

Other famous passages in Micah, who denounced Israel’s leaders for their moral corruption and oppression of the poor, can be found at Micah 4:3: “He will settle disputes among the nations, among the great powers near and far. They will hammer their swords into ploughs and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will never again go to war, never prepare for battle again,” and Micah 6:8: “No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.”

 

I remember taking part in a conference workshop once when we were all asked to memorise Galatians 5:1, which is the verse that immediately precedes our New Testament passage for today. We were each in turn then asked to recite it before everyone else: “Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.” Not one of us failed to do it justice, and what followed was an extremely stimulating discussion.

 

A few years afterwards I was studying the text in a class at Glasgow University when Professor John Riches told us that he had once seen these words daubed on the side of a building. I can’t remember exactly where, but it would have been somewhere such as Poland in the 1980s or the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. I remember him asking us as students whether we thought such use was a misappropriation of scripture. Again, but this time with a completely different group of people, I can remember an exceptionally stimulating conversation ensued.

 

Let us pray:

 

(Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2)

 

Yeah

 

I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes
And make it go away
How long?
How long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?
'Cause tonight, we can be as one
Tonight

 

Broken bottles under children's feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end street
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up
Puts my back up against the wall

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday, Sunday, Bloody Sunday (alright)

 

And the battle's just begun
There's many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

 

How long?
How long must we sing this song?
How long, how long?
'Cause tonight, we can be as one
Tonight, tonight

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
(Tonight, tonight) Sunday, Bloody Sunday (let's go)

 

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
I'll, wipe your tears away (Sunday, Bloody Sunday)
I'll, wipe your blood shot eyes (Sunday, Bloody Sunday)

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (Sunday, Bloody Sunday)
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (Sunday, Bloody Sunday)

 

And it's true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die

 

the real battle just begun
(Sunday, Bloody Sunday) to claim the victory Jesus won
On

 

Sunday Bloody Sunday, yeah
Sunday Bloody Sunday

 

Amen.

 

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