Restore my soul

This song began life as a result of a mountain top (for want of a better word) rant at God. I had been feeling pretty low for some time and needed to vent some frustration at him which, I can imagine you thinking, was a bit arrogant and disrespectful. But I think there are enough Psalms and other parts of Scripture which show this to be something that God understands and, perhaps, even encourages if it means we are being honest with him. I believe he blesses such openness and does respond with grace and mercy. That was certainly true in my case as he put my grievances in perspective and reminded me of his unfailing and steadfast love and compassion for me, despite all my failures and inadequacies.

So, as Psalm 23 explains, he will restore our souls … if we but ask …

When there’s darkness all around,
when I walk on stony ground,
when upon my knees I fall

and I make that final call ...

Lord, restore my soul.
Lord, restore my soul.
Restore my soul.

When I feel so very tired,
when my worship’s uninspired,
when I lose my sight of you

and I doubt the things you do ...

Lord, restore my soul ...

When I long for heaven’s rest,
when I think I’ve done my best,
when there’s more you ask from me

and I cry, “O, let me be!” ...

Lord, restore my soul

(c) 2020 Graham Oakes

1st Sunday in Advent:”What kind of greatness can this be?”



We don’t seem to do mystery any more.

Apart from the odd Agatha Christie or Midsummer Murder story and their ilk which still taunt us, even when we know whodunnit.

No, I mean, we don’t appreciate true mystery. We live at a time when we can know so much at the slide of a finger across our ubiquitous touch sensitive screens. Instantaneous gratification of the mind and heart. In our high-tec, IT, world we don’t easily accept that there are limits we cannot cross …

The commercial countdown to Christmas presents us with all sorts of goodies to be consumed, in one way or other, and on-line wish-lists ensure that we are not disappointed too much on the day.

It might seem that even the Christian season of Advent is old hat as once again we prepare for the celebration of our Saviour using the traditional songs and readings we love, more or less. Where is the mystery in that?

But, Advent is full of mystery!

It is the season of expectation; of waiting; the anticipation of an arrival. Behind and beyond the traditions, the formulae, the good old recipes, there is the mystery of meaning. Why, what, who, how?

Despite (or hopefully because of) our professed faith in the Nativity and the Second Coming there is so much we don’t know and so much that is beyond our knowledge. We can’t enter this season thinking that we know the end of the story because it’s still being written … in us!

We don’t control Christmas anymore than we can control the weather.

As familiar as Advent is it is far more than our celebration, our meditation and our participation. It is the reminder, at the start of the Christian year, that something bigger has invited us to share in perfect love, joy and peace and to understand the mystery of oneness beyond our human limitations and borders.

It invites us to tentatively or wholeheartedly worship God, through the Person of Jesus, and wonder at his mystery and greatness in becoming small for us …

Happy Advent!