Songs in the Wasteland: With

University student Sam Rae continues our Celtic Advent blog series ‘Songs in the Wasteland’ with some reflections from his journey through this strange year.
It has been a difficult year for us all and it has been particularly hard for our students. So we are delighted to have a student contributing to this blog!

I have spent the last few hours, accompanied by a collection of hot drinks, trying to start this blog.

In a season of so much unpredictability and volatility, it is hard to pen down anything absolute, any lesson completely rounded off, any proverb fully developed. The truth is, each week recently has brought a different challenge or wrestle. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed “I just don’t know, Lord” as much.

Maybe you feel the same?

Caught between a sea of uncertainty and an army of responsibilities, I feel myself echoing the exclamation of “why have you brought me here!” daily.

And yet in the middle, on the very ground we are sitting or standing on right this second, is an invitation. A doorway into dependency. An opportunity to lift our heads and whisper (or scream), “we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You”.

Currently we are journeying through Advent, the season of waiting in hope for Jesus.

Jesus. Who did not stay at arms length, but instead made himself one with the authentic reality we find ourselves in now.

Jesus. Who does not leave us sinking on our own, but instead reaches out and draws us into new life with himself.

Jesus. The light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not, and will not, ever overcome Him.

Jesus, our King and friend. Able to comfort us and do the immeasurably more.

Oh, how quick am I to try doing it on my own, stumbling into worry as situations wander beyond my control! When Jesus – God in our midst – promises to be with me always.

Maybe this is our way of entering into worship today? Opening our hands of the troubles, doubt and fears we are carrying, and releasing these into the love scarred palms of The One that sculpted the very earth we are standing on now.

“Joyful, joyful, we adore You,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before You,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day.

Rejoice, Rejoice, Our God is here with us
Emmanuel, Our God is still with us.”

Sam is currently studying music in Edinburgh and is a part of the Central Church family where he serves on the worship team. He has a heart to see God’s people authentically engage with Him and the overflow that comes in and through those times. His home is Ayrshire, which has stunning sunsets and some of his amazing family!

*Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Written by Henry Van Dyke

Crystal Cryer originally hails from Oregon, but now claims Scotland as home. She is the National Coordinator for 24-7 Prayer Scotland. She is also a Networker for Prayer Spaces in Schools in Scotland and is part of the Discovery family in Dunbar, where she is based.