bagpipes and Johnny at Easter

cross2749bI’m reflecting on two conflicting pieces of music heard nearby – one at church, the other this morning: Good Friday from our patio.

Wednesday night, as my colleague Josie leads our church’s Holy Wednesday service – a quite, reflective one … what should waft through from the property next door, but the shrill and piercing sounds of bagpipes … above the sound of busy Station Road traffic and late-night shopping centre hustle/bustle across the road. It was hard to not be distracted by the music of this piper.  What’s he doing playing exactly at the time of our worship service?!

And then today – as Dale and I share our customary hot cross buns and brewed coffee for morning tea – after leading a Last Words of Jesus Good Friday service – from our usually very quite next-door neighbours – what seemed like Johnny Cash’s greatest hits!  Yes – not only do we reflect on When I survey the wondrous cross, O sacred head sore wounded and Here hangs a man discarded (we sang my setting) on Good Friday; we also ponder I walk the line, Folsom City Blues, Jackson and A boy named sue.

Once again I was reminded, as I was repeatedly through our weekly Lent bible studies, that we who are Christian find ourselves as a somewhat curious minority in the bigger picture of Australian society.  The issue is not that we are necessarily lampooned or disrespected – we can so easily become in irrelevance, a grouping far off the radar of most people.  No big deal for an Aussie to play their bagpipes or crank up the Johnny Cash during this most holy weeks.

In this week – the central week in the narrative of salvation history – did bagpipes and “the Man in Black” win out?  That’s not what my faith tells me.  That’s not what the life, death and rising of Jesus tells me.  Amid moving Jesus (so they thought) so off their radar to the point of relegating him to the cruelty and scandal of  a cross – Jesus has the final word – the final victory. Despite the horror and the sacrifice, Jesus wins out.  Love and forgiveness win out over the sin of our human condition, life wins out over death.

Amid the bagpipes … and a dose of Johnny … just part of the world Jesus comes into to redeem, reform and offer life forever.


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