Song of truth

In my short life as a moderator, it’s happened to me twice now. I read the position description very carefully, as well as all the regulations – and there was no mention of dancing. There were lots of things to be fearful of, not least of them dealing with the media. But who would have thought that dancing would appear so early on in the piece – twice already!

The first occurrence was at the Synod meeting – and I squibbed it. Low and behold, I recently attended a Presbytery gathering in Tasmania and there it was again, this time with the whole gamut of age ranges, from very young children, to teenagers, to 20-or-30-somethings, to middle age and older. And I squibbed it again!

It’s not that I’ve never danced; it’s just that my arms and legs don’t seem to coordinate very well to music. So I sat there and watched the expressions of joy on everyone’s face. Those very same expressions I saw at the Synod meeting.

Did I mention that I can’t sing very well either? I can’t seem to stay in tune. But I do sing and mercifully I’m saved by those who can. I guess it must be the same with dancing. God must be doing a number on me. Something like that’s not what you’re afraid of, this is what you’re afraid of…

Egyptian monk and early Desert Father Abba Poemen said: “The nature of water is soft and that of stone is hard. But if a bottle is hung above the stone, allowing the water to fall drop-by-drop, it wears away even the hardest stone. So it is with the word of God. It is soft, and our heart is very hard.”

At the closing worship of this Presbytery gathering we sang, among other things, a song by John Bell and Graham Maule. Inspired by love and anger. It’s number 674 in ‘Together in Song’. As I said, I can’t sing, I’m hopelessly out of tune, but as I sang this particular song, I felt this word of God in, of all things, my scalp. This too was surprising, given that I’m follically challenged.

I would encourage you to re-read this song (or sing it if you can). Sing it in the context of a banal election campaign, seemingly oblivious to the plight of need and pain. The words in this song are both soft and hard.

The words of God sometimes seem soft – they flow over us like shower water. Many would have it that they do not have the power to change the world. For me, the words of this song are almost the entire gospels. They reveal a deeper truth.

A truth that the world needs action, needs something more fierce, something more powerful…

Dan Wootton
Moderator

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