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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 March 2018: Dom Clarke - Pioneer Minister to Beacon Church Plant, Bordon

The Oxford Movement

Most Tuesdays I make a long journey to Oxford, a journey that I know so well that I could almost do it in my sleep. However, to stop me dozing off (which would not be a good idea) I have lately re-committed the two hour congestion filled ride to a simultaneous time of personal worship thanks to the CD player in the car. I blast out one of my favourite worship CDs at something approaching full volume, singing along and praising God as loudly as I can.

The A34 is treated to some top rate worship, prayer and unbridled joy no matter what my mood was when I started the journey. Nothing is guaranteed to make me feel happier and more elated than raising my voice in praise especially in the confines of my car where no one else can hear my terrible singing voice! Most importantly though I find that despite my lack of singing skills this always fills me up with the Holy Spirit and connects me with Jesus in an all absorbing way that sets me up to cope with traffic jams and potential road rage. I find that the whole day that follows is always going to be better too – the Holy Spirit stays with me, the words of the songs play around in my mind and influence the way I talk and behave - at least for a little while - until I can top up with more music and more worship again, normally on the way back home.

The truth is that we are all 'spiritual batteries' that need recharging regularly, whether we profess a particular faith or not, as life has a habit of continually draining the energy and spirit from our hearts, souls and minds. Jesus has, I believe as a Christian, a unique power to bring dynamic revitalisation to every part of our beings. Try it sometime – your commute will never be the same. If worship music isn’t your thing why not try something else that floats your boat be that rock, pop or classical. Music of any kind has a unique power to connect to our innermost being and music is, I also believe, especially related to the divine.

Friedrick Nietzsche the German atheist philosopher once stated that the problem with Christians is that they rarely behave as if they are truly redeemed, and I also despair when I sometimes meet rather dour Christians for whom it always seems to me to be lent and never Easter. With joyful Easter just around the corner I don’t ever want those negative feelings for myself or for anyone else that I pastor. The lyrics of my favourite CD* reminds me that Jesus wants to know me, that he wants me to sing out, that he loves me and that his love never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me. It all overwhelms and satisfies my soul. Ultimately a true and vibrant faith in Jesus cannot allow us to feel stressed or miserable for long.

When we look at the Bible’s songbook (called the Psalms) the very last song is an instruction to make music and praise God with every possible instrument and to raise our voices in joy of life and love with every single breath. Try it for yourself and see where it takes you today.

*My favourite CD is called “This is Jesus Culture” by Jesus Culture released in 2015

The next PACT Prayer is today, 28 March, at The Salvation Army Hall, Swan Street from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm - all are welcome.

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