“Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
And there is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be”
- From Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
The more you listen to Mumford & Sons the more spiritual insights you glean. Whatever the label that they want or don't want to put of their music it is difficult not to label their songs as spiritual works of art creating re-imaginings at the heart of the human contradiction. These guys make melody for that place where human frailty and grace induced redemption meets.
These lyrics, from the title track of their debut album Sign No More, have become my mantra and mission statement in pastoral ministry. I might be wrong but I wonder if Marcus Mumford is having a little swipe here at the legalists in the Christian Church? Is he accusing them of a false love that betrayed, dismayed or enslaved? Real Christian love, which is a recurring theme on the Sign No More album, is about setting free, another theme returned to more than once. God’s grace is not an enslaver but the great liberator. To be set free from society’s demands and expectations and find your true self, aligned to God, our fellow humans and all of God’s creation. This is the ultimate beauty of love and our true humanity. The role of the Church is to be the resource by which the individual and society can be shaped and honed into God’s design. My role is to plan and preach and pray that my congregation in Fitzroy are set free from all that would burden, hinder or curtail the Holy Spirit’s work of righteousness; a righteousness that does not enslave but sets its all free to serve.
Our branding in Fitzroy is 10:10. The youth and children have it all over their hoodies. Yes, it happens to be my birthday but it is John 10 verse 10 when Jesus says, "The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy but I habve come that they may have life and life in all its fullness." That verse and these words from Mumford are what drives the ministry of Fitzroy - "the beauty of love as it was made to be" will be a resource for that "life in all its fullness."