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Ordinary Miracles


I reckon I started thinking about this song when I wrote the last letter. The gospel reading was from Mark 4:26 on. I said at the time that I’d hardly written any songs relating to the gospel, totally forgetting about this one. I don’t remember the process of writing the words, but the music started from the Brit-pop of that time (Blur & others). The bridge music is a steal (unintended) from Herb Alpert. ‘Tijuana Brass’, I think

1.    Thank you, Jesus, for ordinary miracles,
thanks for seasons and birds in a line.
We keep wanting escape to another place —
you say this place is just fine.

Like many of my songs, following the fine example set by the Psalms, it’s partly a reaction, an argument, against some prevailing attitudes. In this case the idea that we’ll see miracles only when extraordinary things take place. The song wants to say that miracles are all around us all the time. As Hopkins wrote in the 1870’s ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God’. And later ‘and for all this, nature is never spent’. Some, especially many of a religious cast of mind, think real beauty, real life is always somewhere else. God says ‘this place is just fine’.

2.    Thank you, Jesus, for average humanity,
thanks for making the people I know.
When we're tired of our humble reality,
come and drop in, say hello.

A conversation the other day about abuses in churches led partly to exploring why and how can things be changed. But it also led to the thought that we never achieve perfection. In no way is this an excuse for the evil behaviour that goes on in many areas of life, but a recognition of the imperfection of human beings.

        Some say you're up in the sky, in a cloud, but
you put your feet on the ground.
Help us to love what we are, being human
— colour, action, sound!

3.    Thank you, Jesus, you startle the centuries:
stepping into our bloody affairs.
Your solution to so much calamity —
up on the hill in the air.

God, of course, is totally aware of what goes on, of what we are & what we do. God is not remote from it, but chooses to join us. The solution that comes is mysterious & to many it doesn’t look like a solution at all. But, as Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, ‘the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’

4.    Thank you, Jesus, that life is a mystery;
any moment's adrenalin time.
Lead us into the way to prosperity —
you are the treasure we find.

Robin Mann © 1996

Robin Mann, June 19 2015


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