Stop the World

It’s Monday morning, Hannah is at work, and I’m working from home with two ill children. (am slightly envious that they are watching The Hobbit snuggled up on the sofa, but not at all wanting their colds….)

Not the best start to the week…and I had a band rehearsal last night, leaders meeting tonight, worship team rehearsal Tuesday, staff meeting and church meeting Thursday…where oh where did the weekend go?! We all get weeks like this, sometimes too often.

How Did We Get Here?

The assumption was, with all of the technology which we have and are constantly creating and upgrading, that life would be simpler. The machines would take care of the mundane, simplifying our day to day so we would have more spare time to do the things we loved. But a hundred years ago, whole days would be set aside for wash days, as clothes were boiled, pounded and mangled…not deposited in a drum with some liquid and put on an eco wash for a couple of hours. If I wanted to contact a friend in America, I could write a letter, or telegram in the 1950’s. I could call of course, but the cost of the call and the quality of the line would mean it would have to be particularly important to justify. Today I know exactly what my friends and family are doing on the other side of the world through Facebook and email, and I can message them and contact them instantly. When I got my first job back in 1997 (only 17 years ago!) I had a terminal…this machine had a green tube screen, internal email as an option and no internet. And 50% of my job involved paper forms and ink stamps. Today I am working from home, with a lightning fast internet and paperless.

All of this technology, all of these advances, and yet we are busier than ever. How can this be? Well the many reasons could probably fill this blog post several times over, and I don’t want to speculate. I know for me I enjoy doing, and so find it hard to say no to things which I enjoy…which has to balance with the jobs I have to do but don’t necessarily love, and also my wife and family (who of course I do love and want to spend all of my time with). I have been pretty fortunate over most of my career so far in that I have been able to set my working day to avoid rush hour. I’ve always started early and finished early so I was home in time for tea and bath and bed (for the kids, not me…), and it is something I have stuck to wherever possible even now as they are older. This may well have scuppered my chances for promotion and pay rises as I generally wouldn’t work late…but then I got everything done during my work hours…anything else would just be for visual effect and status…and I got to spend precious time with my family.

Stop the World

Stop the World is a just incredible song by Matthew West we have used a lot…the words and the sentiment just seem to reach people where they’re at, as so many of us can relate:

The T.V. is talking
The telephone’s ringing
The lights are all on and the radio’s screaming
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You

I’m tired and empty
This life is relentless
It weakens my knees and it breaks my defences
It’s wearing me down and I’m desperate to hear from You

Stop the world, I wanna get out
I need an escape away from this crowd
Just to hear You speak to me

I am still busy, I still have a crazy week this week on top of my usual work, and I know come Friday we will probably just end up dropping off on the sofa. But a while ago I made a concerted effort to work with this, so I consciously watch less TV, we plan out our weekends well in advance and block book “NOTHING” for some of them, I don’t ever take my phone to bed (and of course it’s rude to text at the table). And I have been struggling with (but mostly managing) to get up earlier in the morning so I can just have some quiet time with my bible, with my thoughts, and with prayer.

In a twenty four hour, always switched on, never disconnected world, it is difficult to hear anyone clearly above the noise, let alone the still small voice of God.

So why don’t you find your daily time to uncouple, listen, and just be. Stop the World.

Love Thy Will Be Done

I was driving to church early this Sunday for our first service of our new term, and this blast from the past came on the radio.

Love Thy Will Be Done was released by Martika back in 1991…and was co written and produced by Prince, one of my all time heroes. The story goes that when they worked together he took a book of her lyrics to browse through, and the lyrics to Love thy will be done was written in there as a prayer. The music geek in me really digs the production…Prince has such an individual style, and the ability he has to make an arrangement sound so effortless while putting so much into it is inspired. The drums don’t change, the bass just stays on the one, plodding 8th note…and yet the dynamics, keys and harmonies take the song to an otherworldly ethereal dimension.

Incredible. Inspiring. Timeless. Well worth a visit, and would work really well in many services as a contemporary response or time of prayer. Or just a good airing in the car, as I have been doing.

Love, thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run
No longer can I resist the guiding light
It gives me the power to keep up the fight

Love, thy will be done
Since I have found you my life has just begun
And I see all of your creations as one
Perfect complex

No one less beautiful
Or more special than the next
We are all blessed and so wise to accept
Thy will love be done

Love, thy will be mine
And make me strive for the glorious and divine
I could not be more, more satisfied

Even when there’s no peace outside my window
There’s peace inside
And that’s why I no longer run

Love, thy will be done
Love thy will be done
I can no longer hide
I can no longer run

Love, thy will be done
Thy will love be done
No longer can I resist

The guiding light
The light that gives me the power to keep up the fight
I couldn’t be more satisfied

 

Just a girl…standing in front of a boy…

Love…is a funny thing. And some would argue there’s none funnier than a Hugh Grant movie. (some would of course argue the opposite, but I’m not one of them….)

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know this clip. The pivotal moment when Anna Scott (the film star) comes to William Thacker’s travel book shop (so called as it only sells travel books…and not many of those). Their relationship has never really properly got off the ground…but there’s clearly a spark there. So she comes to give it one last try…”I just wondered if…maybe if I stayed…we could spend some time together, and you could see if you might…like me again….”

Can I just say….

This is the response…and it’s not a positive one. And of course she delivers the heart breaking line…”I’m just a girl….standing in front of a boy….asking him to love her…?” Heartwarming stuff. Mrs K and I always cuddle up a bit closer at that point (she just says I’m fluffy….)

So another day, another Julia Roberts movie…what’s the deal you say? I know we only used a Notting Hill clip the other week, but as I made reference last time, this is one of my favourite movies…and this is my blog…so there! Well we’ve just finished a series on Great Prayers, and used this clip. And while for some Julia Roberts (or Hugh Grant) may be the answer to their prayers…we were using it for something far more serious:

Asking you to love Him.

God wants to hear our prayers. God longs for us to talk to him. He is calling. He is waiting. Jesus longs to meet us there. But as in all relationships, this is a two way thing. We have to make a step. We have to make a decision. We have to talk. So just Anna is stood in front of William saying “I’m just asking you to love me”, without wanting to make it seem pithy…God is too often stood in front of us saying “I’m just asking you to love me”. And we can choose to say yes….or no.

What’s your answer….have you had that conversation…? Yes or No?

Come Talk To Me

Peter Gabriel was, I believe, at his finest between the So and Us albums. Or maybe that’s just the era that I first started really listening, thanks to a university housemate at the time who also introduced me to Radiohead and Underworld. Either way, they have stuck with me all this time, and still receive deserved repeat plays.

And then the concert experience that is Us is something to behold. Performed in the mid 90’s when live shows were evolving into something more than just music, it was an immersive and spectacular experience using media, multiple cameras and innovative stage sets to illustrate the songs. Recently re-released on BluRay, Secret World Live is a great concert recording.

And the opening song, Come Talk To Me begins with Mr Gabriel appearing up from the middle of the stage in an old red phone box as the bagpipes (yes, bagpipes…we’re all inclusive here) play in the background, singing “Please, talk to me? Won’t you please, talk to me? Just like we used to be. Come on, come talk to me”.

We talk about prayer a lot at EBC, and we do also pray a lot at EBC. And we teach on prayer as well…why pray, how to pray, how prayers can be answered, what God wants of our prayers, why God wants our prayers. And this song is a great introduction to the subject…God wants us to talk to him, prayer is a conversation. And any conversation requires at least two.

He is so often waiting for you…Come Talk to Him.