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Were he born in summer...

Added Thursday 15th December 2011

Were he born in Summer,
Ripening fruit and hay;
Warmed by glorious sunlight,
Lit by golden ray:
Roaming sheep and cattle,
Camels on the way;
Joyful songs and laughter
On the longest day.

Were he born in Autumn,
Harvest gathered in,
Oil and wine of gladness,
Corn stowed in the bin:
Harvest celebrations,
Music at the inn;
Breezes stir and stiffen
As the sun grows thin.

(but) He was born in Winter,
Damp and mould the wall;
Peasants creased with shiver,
Cattle in the stall:
Rotting hay beneath Him,
Rough the shepherds' call;
Wild his mother's worry,
Snow begins to fall.

And he rose in Springtime
Blossom on the tree,
Hope in every flower
Life where death should be:
All the earth in rapture,
Love and ecstasy;
An unbounded future,
Life's eternity.

From Carols for Advent to Candlemas, part 2, Were he Born in Summer

Advent Firesiders – Reflections for Christmas

Added Thursday 3rd November 2011

This year's Advent Firesiders ask us to question our preconceptions of Christ and Christmas. In four parts, Childlike, Protest, Snow and Generous, they are available now to read and digest.

Put all the shouting and posturing to one side and what shines through is that blessed naivite. Jesus wasn't an economist nor a politician; he was Christianity's first and greatest fool, a sucker for every passing beggar, always falling for sob stories, incapable of hanging on to his loose change; throwing his weight behind apparently Utopian causes. He was an improbably unconventional figure; and if he were born today, I would like to think that it would be in a little canvas tent outside the magnificent walls of Saint Paul's.

Advent Firesiders 2011, part 2, Protest

Hymns for Advent to Candlemas

Added Wednesday 21st September 2011

A second volume of hymns for the period from Advent to Candlemas has been published. Consisting of nearly fifty hymns, this volume provides lyrics for all times and moods of the season.

Here is an extract, New Life:

  1. A new life is beginning
    On this very special day;
    We are thinking about Christmas
    And Our Lord's nativity:
    So prepare your hearts and souls as well as your houses
    For a new life.
  2. This is the time to remember
    God's promise to the earth
    That he would send a Saviour
    And we are waiting for His birth:
    So do not forget a gift for Him as one of the family
    For a new life.
  3. The new life soon beginning
    Will be full of pain and love,
    Of The Cross and Resurrection,
    Then return to God above:
    So thank God for His Son as our best and biggest present,
    For a new life.

The Softest Touch

Added Monday 15th August 2011

  1. I want to be the one who gives,
    I want to be the one who is kind,
    I want to live like Jesus lived,
    I want to know His heart and mind:
    I want to love Him, O so much;
    I want to be the softest touch.
  2. I want to stay when others leave,
    I want to rise when others fall,
    I want to say that I believe,
    I want to see the Lord of all:
    I want to give when others clutch;
    I want to be the softest touch.
  3. But nothing that I want comes true
    If I believe it comes from me,
    I know that all things come from You
    Although at times it's hard to see:
    You are my burden and my crutch;
    I want to be Your softest touch.

Taken from The Softest Touch in Hymns & Carols (General Vol. III)

Emmaus

Added Saturday 23rd April 2011

  1. Trudge down the windy road,
    A house without a light,
    The chill of empty fires
    And soon the lonely night:
    A triumph for a day,
    The panic of the tomb;
    Enigmas cloud the brain,
    Sprung from the Upper Room.
  2. Our heavy hearts pick up
    A traveller's quickened pace
    Who walks a step behind
    Hiding his eyes and face:
    His words burn deep as fire
    Where coldness lay before;
    A pattern to explain
    A message to restore.
  3. Though we were still downcast
    His gentleness was such
    We asked him to come in:
    We could not offer much
    Late on a Sunday night,
    Having been so long away;
    But he would ease our grief
    If he agreed to stay.
  4. He acted like our host,
    Giving the wine and bread
    And then we understood
    The things that He had said:
    First in the Upper Room,
    Next in the empty tomb,
    Then on the open road,
    Now in our humble home.
  5. Lord, now that You have gone
    Back to Your Father's care,
    May we be comforted
    As if You were still here:
    The light within our home,
    Our brother in distress,
    Our daily sustenance,
    Our guide to happiness.

Taken from Hymns & Carols: From Ash Wednesday to Lent, no. 15 Emmaus.

Roads to Golgotha

Added Wednesday 16th March 2011

This year's Holy Week meditations are now available. These monologues are best suited to Good Friday and Easter Day.

Then a mother with a new-born baby walked right up to him, even though she hadn't gone through the purification, right up to him and made as if to thrust the baby into his arms but he stood stock still, looking straight at her, and instead of doing anything drastic, she just put her left hand - yes, her left hand - on his shoulder while cradling the tiny baby in her right arm and she said: "You can cure him, can't you?"

Palm Ash And Oil

Added Wednesday 16th March 2011

  1. The ash upon my brow
    Has made its heavy way
    From those who shouted "King"
    To those who would not say:
    A warning of the slope
    Which leads us to betray;
    No need to do the deed,
    Stay quiet, walk away.
  2. The palm Cross by my bed
    Rustles a jarring note
    Of people steering clear
    Of things they should promote,
    Promiscuously bland
    In promising their vote,
    No gap between the hat
    And the collar of the coat.
  3. The oil that welds the ash
    Reminds me of a king
    Who, tortured and betrayed,
    Accepted suffering,
    Whose silence was as sharp
    As crystal shattering
    But whose word is always true
    As an infant's lettering.
  4. The Cross upon my brow
    Says that I must not wait
    To turn against my ease,
    Confronting what I hate;
    It says my sins, though small,
    Add up to something great,
    That I so often fall
    Because I hesitate.

Saving Ourselves to Save Others

Added Monday 24th January 2011

What liberals are being asked to do by a minority of dissenters is not only to give them equality of expression and action but also the power to weaken the liberalism which has given [the dissenters] what they ask for.

In Kevin Carey's latest speech to Affirming Catholicism, he argues that it is time for liberalism to assert itself or be driven out of Anglicanism. Is there any hope for the Church of England? Read the speech to find out.

Epiphany

Added Thursday 6th January 2011

His straw so thin, her smile so wide
When our Lord Jesus would abide
With us so sore who him denied,
Whose Godly self he set aside.

Low was the lamp, radiant the star
Which drew the magi to the bar
Where wealth and calculation jar
with love he came to show we are.

Sour was the vinegar, sweet the wine,
That vintage of our Saviour's vine
Where we and Jesu fast entwine
Inseparable in God's design.

God's Design

War Carol

Added Monday 20th December 2010

The prince of peace cries for dying soldiers,
Tangled in war, who fight in vain,
A thorn in the straw scratches his finger
An innocent pang of earthly pain.

Shepherds in barren fields sense danger
And tense as unnatural light appears;
An enemy, then an angel, shouting,
A chorus that calms, then summons tears.

Kings running from guilt suspect the stranger
But sign a dark treaty to survive;
Their gifts of extortion round the manger
The price that each pays to stay alive.

Pain left at the breast of his sweet mother,
The baby can hear an angel sing;
Though sorry the gifts, he loves each giver,
The soldiers have found a new-born king.

War Carol has been set to music by Alan Smith.

The prince of peace cries for dying soldiers,

Tangled in war, who fight in vain,

A thorn in the straw scratches his finger

An innocent pang of earthly pain.

 

Shepherds in barren fields sense danger

And tense as unnatural light appears;

An enemy, then an angel, shouting,

A chorus that calms, then summons tears.

 

Kings running from guilt suspect the stranger

But sign a dark treaty to survive;

Their gifts of extortion round the manger

The price that each pays to stay alive.

 

Pain left at the breast of his sweet mother,

The baby can hear an angel sing;

Though sorry the gifts, he loves each giver,

The soldiers have found a new-born king.