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Man in the mirror

The other day I was in the swimming pool doing some lengths, when I heard a song over the sound system that I hadn’t heard in a while. As I listened, I was struck again by how great the lyrics to the song are. A lot of contemporary songs have pretty banal and meaningless lyrics in my humble middle-aged man opinion. That goes for worship songs as well as secular music. A few weeks ago in Church I mentioned my all-time most sickening lyrics in a worship song: “when heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”. I can absolutely guarantee you that we will not be singing that particular song here at St Andrew’s any time soon. Not without a bucket close to hand at least….

Anyway, I’ve kind of wandered off the point here! So the song that I was listening to last week was Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. I’m not a huge fan of his, but I have to admit that he wrote some very inspiring and thought-provoking lyrics. And these are some of the best:

“I'm starting with the man in the mirror,

I'm asking him to change his ways,

And no message could've been any clearer,

If they wanna make the world a better place,

Take a look at yourself and then make a change”

I think that message of personal responsibility is absolutely key in today’s world. The lyrics very much echo Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote: “be the change you want to see in the world”. Any kind of change has to start with me and you, whether that’s our personal responsibility to look after God’s creation or our desire to make St Andrew’s a welcoming and accessible place for young people.

The lyrics also reminded me of some verses from the Bible that say this: “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:23-24). It’s pretty ridiculous to think that we could forget our reflection so quickly, but it’s equally ridiculous to think that we can skim over God’s word, shrug our shoulders and not actually put it into practice in our own lives.

So at the beginning of this new year (I still feel justified in saying that until the end of January!), let’s bear in mind Michael Jackson’s challenge to us all and start with the man or woman staring back at us from our mirror every single day.

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