I’m not often moved by sentimentality, but sometimes a moment is captured that can’t help but tug a little at the heart strings. One such moment for me was with the video of Ms. Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. Setting up the scene much better than I, in a recent blog post this is what Sarah Liss had to say:
What’s marvelous about Boyle is how she managed to completely challenge not just our preconceived expectations (and those of the Britain’s Got Talent judges) but also the collective perception of what an undiscovered star looks like. Watch the initial moments of the clip and you can tell that the producers are salivating over Boyle’s potential as a wacky character who’ll make great television fodder. An unemployed, eccentric dowager from a small Scottish village who lives alone with her cat, Pebbles? A 47-year-old clad in an unflattering taupe housedress who claims not only that she’s never been married, but that she’s never been kissed? “This?” they’re silently guffawing, “This woman thinks she’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming a professional singer?”
The set-up is cruel: a collection of spliced-together clips of Boyle making doddering, off-colour comments, snarky tween audience members rolling their eyes and the Britain’s Got Talent judges addressing the self-proclaimed singer as though she’s a recent escapee from a mental institution … But Boyle screwed all of that up. When she opened her mouth to sing, something exquisite and jarring came out …
What moved me most as I watched this all unfold on my computer screen, was that what I saw before me was a fitting picture of the church. The comparisons are just too wonderful to pass up! (Now please understand that I am not saying any of this as a commentary on the life, or beliefs of Ms. Boyle – neither of which I know anything about).
Just like Ms. Boyle, the church is often written off, simply because she is not what people today are looking for. She appears a little eccentric, what she has to say sometimes comes off as socially awkward. She is a little old and out-of-touch – past her best before date. The hip youngsters roll their eyes – “like she could have anything to share with me!” Those who know how the world works chuckle under their breath “Her, I don’t think so – maybe when we were both younger, but it’s too late now!”
Yet the church, just like Ms. Boyle, knows that she has a song to sing no matter what anyone else might think. It is a song of love and forgiveness. Of longing and mercy. It is a song of salvation and joy and peace. It is a song of a cross and an empty tomb. And when the Church opens her mouth and lets that sweet Gospel sound forth … WOW! Chins drop, mouths hang open and hearts are moved!
So thank you Ms. Boyle for the moving performance, and for the much needed reminder to think twice about the Bride of Christ, and the power of her song!