Showing posts from November, 2017

'Hidden King': a Reflection for Christ the King Sunday

In some churches today, the Sunday before Advent, is celebrated as Christ the King Sunday. When we think of a King, we often think in an institution where someone has great power, status or wealth. In the coming of Christ in human flesh and in his teaching is a strong theme of a different picture of kingship. A picture of someone who comes in weakness and poverty, whose true subjects are those who recognise their king in the outcasts of society.
Today's gospel reading is Matthew 25: 31 - 46. It is a parable about the judgement of the nations when Christ comes in glory and welcomes those who have served the least of Christ's family - the stranger, the prisoner, the naked, the sick, the hungry and thirsty. It is one of the most challenging passages of the gospels. Here is my poetic reflection on Matthew 25: 31 - 46 that I first posted in 2014.

Hidden King
when did we see you?
We saw no King,
only a scrounger
begging on the street.

Hidden King,
when did we refuse you
food, drink and…

St Cecilia's Day and the March of the Thumbs

Why am I remembering the 'March of the Thumbs' on St Cecilia's Day?

Well, St Cecilia is known as the patron saint of musicians and I am thinking about the significance of music in my life.

The 'March of the Thumbs' was a memorable step in my musical development. I can still remember the excitement of my first formal piano lesson when I was about 5 or 6 years old. In that lesson Miss C taught me how to play the first piece in the beginners' piano tutor book - not only how to play it but also how to play while reading the music from the stave. I already had a love for the piano because my mother played it well. The sense of accomplishment at mastering that first lesson and performing it later to family and neighbours set me on a pianistic journey of progress, setbacks, ups and downs. Like life really - sometimes developing gifts and other times neglecting them.

The March of the Thumbs only needed the thumbs of each hand, used alternately to perform it. And it only n…

Remembrance Sunday 2017

A lot of words will be said and sung today in Remembrance Sunday services and commemorations across the UK.

Words made familiar over time will be repeated.

Some words said and sung today will be poignant and beautiful, some nostalgic and sentimental, some lamenting.

Other words may be hopeful, pointing to a vision of a better world and inspiring children, women and men to work for 'all that makes for peace and builds up the common good'.

Whatever is said and sung today tends to raise more questions than they answer. The one word, 'why' seems to hover over all our remembering.

Perhaps the best thing about Remembrance Sunday is silence rather than words. The 2 minute silence is more eloquent on such occasions than our inadequate and sometimes misguided words. And silence can be the best way to pray.

If you want some words for a prayer today, here is a prayer by Stephen Vincent Benet that I hope you thing is worth praying. It is not a specifically Christian prayer. It is a pray…

Why I will not sing 'I vow to thee my country'

I never sing the patriotic song, 'I vow to thee my country'. When it comes to singing it at Remembrance Services, I am a conscientious objector. I keep my mouth firmly closed while others sing - at least for the first verse. I sometimes join in the second one.

I have no wish to upset or offend anyone by this post. I acknowledge that many people who served or serve in military service and their families have an attachment to this anthem and find in it layers of meaning that speak to a need. Because of that, when it is sung in services, I stand out of respect for those who want to sing it. I keep silence with my eyes on the service sheet, while using *alternative words in my head. 

'I vow to thee my country' is a well-known anthem in the UK and Commonwealth countries.The words are based on on original poem 'Urbs Deo' (City of God) of 1908 or 1912 by Cecil Spring-Rice. During World War 1 he served as British Ambassador to the United States. He rewrote the words in J…

Hymn for All Saints Day