For all the Saints

What is today?  For most people, it’s the day after Halloween.  That’s true whether or not you’ve enthusiastically celebrated the event, attempted to create an alternative or desperately sought to avoid it.  However, that’s quite ironic because Halloween is a contraction of “All Hallows’ Eve” or “All Saints’ Eve. We say “Happy Halloween” but not… Continue reading For all the Saints

O Thou who camest from above

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At the memorial service to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday evening in St Paul’s cathedral, a few traditional hymns were sung that are probably not so well known to many.  So, I thought I’d share them with a few reflections.  One of them was “O Thou who camest from above” by Charles Wesley. The lyrics… Continue reading O Thou who camest from above

On singing when I don’t enjoy it

This week, Steve Kneale answered the question “If I don’t enjoy the songs at church, is it okay not to sing?”  I broadly agree with much of what he has to say in his article.  We live in an individualistic age where we believe that our desires and preferences come first. If we see church… Continue reading On singing when I don’t enjoy it

Is “My Song is Love Unknown” antisemitic?

I’ve written a few times about the growing resurgence in antisemitism. I talk in terms of resurgence because this is a historic problem and whilst we think primarily of Nazi Germany, neither Britain nor the church has a good record here. Testimony to our failure include the writings of Martin Luther and some shocking examples… Continue reading Is “My Song is Love Unknown” antisemitic?

Celebrating Easter with joyful praise

When we first arrived at Bearwood Chapel, there didn’t seem to have been a significant emphasis on Easter. The Brethren tradition tends to particularly stay away from church calendar occasions. However, we had a few people, particularly but not exclusively from the older end of the church who wanted to make a bigger thing of… Continue reading Celebrating Easter with joyful praise

The sinner’s friend

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I love contemporary worship songs but also have quite a soft spot for older hymns. I particularly associate this one with my childhood, sat at home listening to songs played on my mum and dad’s record collection. I am particularly struck by the lyrics of the second verse Thou art the sinner’s friend,So I Thy… Continue reading The sinner’s friend

Blest is the one whose bowels move

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My friend Andrew Price drew our attention to an old Isaac Watts’ hymn recently. You will be relieved (pun not intended) to hear that it has nothing to do with bodily functions or IBS. Traditionally, when people referred to the emotions they talked not of the heart which was seen rather as the seat of… Continue reading Blest is the one whose bowels move

Hymn Wars: What our contemporary worship lacks

There are some internal Christian disagreements that raise their head just when you least expect them to.  Worship wars is one of them. There has been a long history of seeing the contemporary music of your era as deficient to tradition and compromised. At the same time, those writing newer hymns and songs have determinedly… Continue reading Hymn Wars: What our contemporary worship lacks

Contemporary worship songs by subject

One of the things many people involved in leading worship miss about having a traditional hymn book is the provision of an index that sorts songs by subject. The benefits of such an index are twofold. First, it enables you to choose songs linked to the specific sermon theme that week, secondly it enables you… Continue reading Contemporary worship songs by subject