Last night I went to see Trevor Nunn’s exquisite revival of A Little Night Music by one of the musical theatre greats- Stephen Sondheim. As expected it was enchantingly performed by an ensemble cast and lived up to its billing as “spinning like a seductive merry-go-round”. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night, this witty and stylish celebration of romance is set in 19th century Sweden where affairs of the heart are uppermost in everyone’s thoughts. It’s the story of people who are all stumbling their way through the tangled-web of romance, passion, seduction and hope that envelopes their lives- they have to learn new things and unlearn old things about love and themselves- they have to work out their futures for themselves.
Each day I read from Nick Fawcett’s excellent Daily Prayer, and today’s section was headed “Working it out for ourselves”. The passage was from Philippians 2:12- “You must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. recognising that God is at work in you so that you will be able to understand and accomplish his good purpose”-how apt for the lovers in the show- particularly as one of them is studying for the priesthood!
Sometimes it is hard to understand love and what it does to our emotional and spiritual life and sometimes we just have to work it out for ourselves. Nick’s book goes on to encourage us with a quote from Ephesians; ” I pray for this…that Christ may so dwell in your hearts through faith that you will be able to grasp with all the saints the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of Christ; and that you may know this all-surpassing love in such a way that you will be filled with the very fullness of God!”
So let’s send in the saints rather than the clowns on this subject.