Well, the results are in for the Canberra Baptist Church ‘Songs for the Journey’ playlist’!
500 miles by The Proclaimers was mentioned in a few breakout rooms – one of my personal favorites! And with the proximity to Anzac Day we had a few wartime songs: Coming in on a wing and prayer, Pack up your troubles, and It’s a long way to Tipperary. There were a few nostalgic entries; The Carnival is over and Morningtown Ride by The Seekers, I love to go a wondering, Everything Possible by folk singer, Judy Small and “anything by Frank Sinatra” said one group.
There was also some contemporary inspiration; the ABC’s socially distanced I am Australian, The Climb by Miley Cyrus and You lift me up (Janelle Billet included the YouTube clip to the Josh Groban and BYU Vocal Point rendition that is very lovely! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcLl0A-lXIc) And – it stretches the definition a bit – but some groups suggested soundtracks for walking; What does the Fox say? and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Overwhelmingly, though, we had a collection of songs and hymns – old and new – that keep us going. If you don’t know some of the below – look them up online and be encouraged!
A mighty fortress is our God
Down in the valley with my Saviour
Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus
Guide me O Thou great Jehovah
Guide my feet, while I run this race
I’m pressing on the upward way
It is well with my soul
Made me glad (Hillsong)
One more step along the way I go
Onward Christian Soldiers
Our God is an awesome God
Peace Like a River (sung by Elizabeth Mitchell)
Ten thousand reasons
To be a pilgrim
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
We are marching in the light of God
When we walk with Lord
When the saints go marching in
It has been interesting this week as we have opened Scripture and prayed together (8-8:30am each weekday – feel free to join in https://zoom.us/j/961173086 to hear repeated mentions of the hospitality, the communion experienced by Cleopas and his companion and the stranger they met on the road, who they knew as Jesus “in the breaking of the bread”. We have heard the story of Abraham and Sarah preparing a feast for three strangers in Genesis, Psalm 23 with its promise of “preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies” and Jesus preparing roast fish and bread for the disciples on the beach in John 21.
I mentioned on Sunday that when Aron and I had taken a walk last week – sharing some of the struggles we are going through – there was “no supernatural phenomena to report – no miracle – except the very dime a dozen (or less) disciples miracle, the white bread (broken) miracle, the middle of the (Emmaus) road miracle, the garden variety miracle that in our hopelessness, in our grief and distress, God makes Godself known to us.”
I am, however, reminded by this passage in Luke 24 of an account from the early days of missionary work in the Baliem Valley in West Papua of an Dani elder who heard that there was a message about life and the Creator Spirit being taught in a distant valley, and how he embarked on a difficult journey – and an incredibly dangerous one from his tribal lands through the lands of the neighboring hostile tribes. Tired and anxious after a day’s journey, he came across a hut which, though he approached it very carefully, was deserted, but there was a fire going and sweet potato roasting on the fire. He ate and slept and continued his journey and reached the place where he heard the good news about Jesus; that Jesus had made a way for people to be reconciled with God, and then he journeyed home, and on his way back, found the hut there again, deserted, but with a fire going and sweet potato roasting on the coals.
The miracle that God makes Godself known to us in continues – as we, as a community, walk alongside each other, as we open the Scriptures together and as we show hospitality to each other (in the socially distanced but significant ways that we still can).
This Sunday we are going to celebrate that communion together again – in the real form of bread broken and juice poured. Can I remind you to prepare for yourself (and your household) some bread and some juice as we share this time of remembering that God is present with us now – just as God was present with the disciples then and with all those who have searched for God over the centuries.
May God be known to us “in the breaking of the bread” this Sunday!