Saturday, 2 June 2012

The soundtrack of our lives

Del Amitri Roll To Me, Seal Kiss From A Rose and Shanks & Bigfoot Sweet Like Chocolate; Three songs that mean a lot to me.

Roll To Me was played to death on a skiing trip in France aged 18 and every time I hear it I'm transported back there and can recall with striking intensity, the minibus ride through France and up the Alps. Kiss From A Rose - the summer of 1994, Batman Forever and Summer Squash Camps at Lee On Solent and Sweet Like Chocolate the summer of 1999 and leaving school, of beach parties, fruit picking and the Solent in the sun, magical.

Songs have a way of conjuring up memories, of transporting us. Do you ever wonder what the soundtrack to your life would consist of? If I was to listen to my life I wonder what the reoccurring themes would be? What would shine through as the most listened to pieces of music or genres of music? Would it be my overdose on Nirvana and Guns N' Roses when I was 14 or my brief flirtation with Hip Hop & R&B in 2001? Or maybe Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill album that was stuck on repeat one summer? How about you, what would be some of your themes and stand out moments?

Yesterday I was up on the Downs in Eastbourne enjoying God's creation (I live in an extremely beautiful part of the country it has to be said). As I walked along taking in the sights I suddenly became aware of a bird singing in the sky above me. It was a swift (I'm not a bird-man I can't tell my sparrows from swallows but I can spot a swift). It cut across every other sound and it was soon all I could hear as I walked across fields and over stiles and it dawned on me at that moment that the song had been playing ever since I began my walk, the hills were full of different bird calls. From the car park on it had formed the musical bed of the countryside, it was the soundtrack to my walk - but I hadn't noticed it until then. It was always there and if I had been listening to the sounds rather than taking in the sights I'm convinced that I would heard very little else besides this.

Although it's true that at various points in my life, particular songs have taken on particular significance, I am sure that if I were to hear my life played back as a collection of songs there would really be only one song, one noise that would dominate and drown out all the others. It's a song that at times I don't notice, too busy caught up thinking about/taking in other things, but it's a song that has been there all the time forming the musical bed to my life. It is the song of God's love for me.

Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God 'rejoices overs us with singing.' God delights in us, God sings over us. When you love someone/something, the natural thing to do is to express it; often in song (think football games, concerts, jigs in the kitchen with the kids). God is not unlike us (or rather, we are not unlike God) in this respect, he sings over what he loves and the Bible reveals that he loves us; he loves me.

I am convinced that if we were to hear our lives as a song we wouldn't be able to hear anything other than God's love, his song over us drowns out all other songs. Imagine collecting onto one CD all the songs or sounds that you think have played a part in your life, imagine putting this CD into the CD player and pressing play. How would you feel if instead of hearing the songs you thought you'd hear all that comes out is the low hum of a bass note played over and above all of the songs on the CD. You'd conclude that there was a mistake or a malfunction in the burning of the CD, you'd throw the CD away and start again, at least I would.

But today if you hear God's voice if you notice God's song do not harden your heart, do not shrug off the thought, do not throw away the CD. Your creator loves you and sings over you, delights in you. In every moment of your life he has been there, singing in the sky above you and in the room besides you. When you were hurting and in need of strengthening, he was there and when you were celebrating success he was still there - singing. Singing 'I love you, I'm for you, I love you, I died for you, I love you, I choose you, I love you, I don't reject you, I love you, I'll never leave you.'

Some loves transport us, some loves focus us. Some loves make us forsake all other loves.

Are you worthy of this love? Have you done much to merit it? No. But then some things are loved because they're worthy (think sports car, super model, professional footballer) and other things are worthy because they're loved like teddy bears and objects with sentimental value.

God delights in you, has always delighted in you, he sings over you and gives you worth, meaning and value because he prizes you above everything else in creation. His song is relentless, his song is all-consuming and his song will never be drowned out by anything we do. His song is there, always in the background, always there and today take a moment and stop and listen to it, hear what he has to say through it. Allow his love to be the lens through which you see the world and carry on your walk through the countryside.

There are some joys that make us serious.