Lyric For The Day 11.12.12 from No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen
'Prayer for Peace' with Police permission, 8.30am Saturday 15 December at City Hall.

Lyric For The Day 12.12.12 from Rocky Ground by Briuce Springsteen

Rise Up

“Rise up shepherd, rise up

Your flock has roamed far from the hills

The stars have faded, the sky is still

The angels are shouting "Glory Hallelujah"

We've been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground

We've been traveling over rocky ground, rocky ground

Forty days and nights of rain have washed this land

Jesus said the money changers in this temple will not stand

Find your flock, get them to higher ground

Flood waters rising and the kingdom's on fire”

-     From Rocky Ground by Bruce Springtseen

I was drawn to this lyric this morning. I always get to hear a couple of songs to kick start the thinking of my day on the return journey of the school run. Today I flicker across to the trilogy of hopeful songs at the end of Wrecking Ball. These first verses shouted out at me in the week that Belfast has just experienced. Many have asked what are the Churches doing? Where are the Church leaders? I ask the same question and then realise that it is no longer the 80s and I am now a Church leader.

As a shepherd I need to hear Springsteen’s call. I need to start asking whether what I believe has any relevance to the world I live in? Has Jesus anything to say. Springsteen finds Jesus in the context of his Wrecking Ball dissertation on the financial crisis turning over the tables of injustice and exploitation in the Temple courts. What about a country currently torn in two over flags, culture and identity?

As a shepherd I need to find the verses, the robust hope of transformation in the Gospel story and imaginatively lead the people of God onto higher ground. How do we Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6: 27-28) What does that kind of grace and generosity look like? As we see in the Christmas nativity God drawing near, bridging the divisions and radically reshaping the world how do we do that in loyalist communities that feel disenfranchised, in republican communities that are not sure of power sharing, in a city council and local
government caught up in historical templates and struggling to create new ones.

I believe that the Church has a role to play, maybe a decisive role. Let us hear the call. It is Rocky Ground but the angels are singing something about “Peace on earth and good will...” Rise up!


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