Saturday, February 27, 2010
It's another snowy, slushy weekend in northeast Ohio. We've reached that time of winter when we it's all too easy to start complaining about the cold weather, the shoveling, and the wet shoes. Stores are starting to stock their garden supplies and spring bulbs, which only makes us more eager for spring and dissatisfied with the lingering winter.
This topic came to mind as I was looking over this Sunday's music, which includes the hymn "A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth." (The tune will feature prominently in the prelude as well.) It reminded me of a line from the old Agatha Christie movie "Appointment with Death." A devout woman is asked if she is feeling well, and she responds, "What are my sufferings compared to those of our Savior?"
As I see it, that rhetorical question is one of two extreme attitudes that can stem from this line of thinking. One is exemplified by that quote: a maudlin meditation of the sufferings of the Passion story, which I fear can quickly become a joyless faith. The other approach is to cultivate a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving. Personally, I prefer to see the positive and hopeful aspects of this particular hymn text:
"A lamb goes uncomplaining forth to save a world of sinners.
He bears the burden all alone, dies shorn of all his honors."
Picking up on a topic from earlier in the week, perhaps we treasure simple hymn tunes like "Jesus Loves Me" because they so clearly express a simple, joyful faith of God's love. But even hymns that recount the Passion story should be a joy to us, and a reminder that we have few reasons to complain - even while we're shoveling our driveways for the third time in the same week!