Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama. While you may not be familiar with the written African words, you cannot help but recognize them when they are sung.
Picture this: The sun rises slowly over the African dessert as those powerful Zulu words call to the animals. Herds and flocks begin their trek across the dusty land and great plains. From ants to elephants, each instinctually feels the beckoning and shifts the day’s activities to move toward a great happening. A child has been born – a child who will live and learn, and will grow into their new king. Yes, it’s the opening scene to the movie The Lion King, and those calling words are the initial phrases from the Elton John classic The Circle of Life.
As the song moves into English, my heart is swept into the lyrics: It's the circle of life, and it moves us all through despair and hope, through faith and love, 'til we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle – the circle of life. Neither the movie nor the song is specifically intended to drive our Christian faith journey, but (as is the case with so many pieces of our world) I cannot help but find Jesus in the midst of the scene.
I have actually used several of the scenes from The Lion King in classes and studies. I think the last time I watched a part of the movie was during a confirmation class. There I find symbolism to be captured which lends itself to discussions of baptism and Jesus’ birth. My favorite scene is when the lion cub begins to recognize the reflection of his great father within himself. What a wonderful visual helping us to remember the light of Christ that is reflected in us for the world to see – a glorious example of the circle of life.
The circle of life is a beautiful description of our existence. As I contemplate life these days, I am particularly drawn to the sequence in Genesis as God covenants with Abraham over and over. The promises are gifts which are given to Abraham at no cost. God simply loves Abraham unconditionally and provides for him with no required action on Abraham’s part.
However, Abraham responds to God’s grace with obedience to the Creator. That freely-given obedient reaction results in an additional blessing. “All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants, because you obeyed me.” It’s a circle of blessing – a circle of life with Almighty God.
As Lent continues, my goal is to be contemplative, introspective and repentant. More importantly, I will be grateful for the circle of life which flows through me and my journey.
PRAYER FROM PSALM 105
God, we praise you! When we gather together to worship you, we remember the goodness and unfailing love you have shown toward us, your people. Time after time, you have come to our rescue. Your love has sustained us through good times and bad. No matter what we faced – whether accident, illness, disappointment or death – You were there, encouraging, strengthening, and blessing. Even when we turned our back on you, you didn’t abandon us, but waited patiently for us to return, ready to welcome us with open arms. Because we have known your love in the past,
we look to the days ahead without fear. No matter how uncertain the future may seem, we will continue to trust in your unfailing love, confident that you will guide us in the days ahead as you have guided us in the past. Amen.
KEY VERSES FROM TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READINGS
Psalm 105 – Give praise to God’s holy name! Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the Lord!
Genesis 22 – I will bless you richly and I will give you countless descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as the grains of sand on the seashore. They will conquer their enemies’ cities. All the nations of the earth will be blessed because of your descendants, because you obeyed me.”
Hebrews 11 – Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.
For today’s full scripture readings, click here… https://www.divinestreet.org/lent-scripture.html