Once in Royal David’s City

We’re at Sanctum talking about music in worship. After a conversation writing Mary’s Lullaby, Ruth mentioned Once in Royal David’s City to one of the other delegates. I was going to share it in the Sanctum group and discovered it had slipped through the cracks.

So here it is. A slight rewrite of Once in Royal David’s city to give it a bit more meat.

Once in Royal David’s City

Once in royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed,

Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His bed.

Mary’s courage brought to birth, Jesus, Saviour of the earth

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He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all

And His shelter was a stable and His cradle was a stall

With the poor and mean and lowly, lived on earth our Saviour holy

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For he is the promised Saviour, bringing freedom, love and peace

Comfort for the broken-hearted, ever shall our joys increase!

In the darkness of this night, comes the Everlasting Light.

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Not in that poor lowly manger, in a home in Bethlehem

We shall see Him, but in glory, in the new Jerusalem!

When creation is restored, there we’ll dwell with Christ our Lord!

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Merry Christmas Everybody – O Little Town of Bethlehem

It has been a busy few weeks in our house.  Beginning a new parish ministry at the start of advent is always going to feel like you are jumping onto a moving conveyor belt.  We have also been consciously pressing the brakes and trying to ‘do’ advent without rushing into Christmas.  This has involved some interesting mental gymnastics.  I don’t know how well I have managed to compartmentalise myself whilst preparing all of the Christmas services has been an interesting experience.  Whilst I’ve been telling people to await expectantly I’ve been going to my computer, digging out common worship and looking up Christmas responses ready for tonight, tomorrow and the next few weeks.

In the midst of all of this, we managed to spend our day off in the same room playing music.  Ed came and did drums and Ruth and I spent an afternoon recording the other parts for O Little Town of Bethlehem.  It was finished on Friday ready for the Online 9 Lessons and Carols Service but embargoed until this afternoon when the service was transmitted.  In typical Metanoia fashion, it was a crazy idea Ruth had whilst I was noodling the Chili Peppers in the rehearsal room.  Hope you like it!

Now Christmas is here and I’m heading off to midnight mass in a few hours.  Then I’ll grab my guitar and go play Slade for the families who come tomorrow morning to meet around God’s table.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

Online 9 Lessons and Carols 2012

Online-Carols 2012 Small copy

Some of you may remember that last year there was an Online Nine Lessons and Carols Service.  This year is no different and Metanoia are involved in it once again.  Check out all of the details over at Nine Lessons and Carols 2012!  Check out the hashtag #onlinecarols2012 too!

I also updated Metanoia’s facebook url so it matches every other online presence we have. Facebook’s original policy of never allowing you to change your name has been relaxed to “OK, we’ll let you change it but only once”.  If you have any links, they may need updating.

http://www.facebook.com/metanoiauk

O Little Town of Bethlehem

“Isa is not rich, Isa is very poor I know this.  God loves the poor people.  Rich people.  All people”.

“If Jesus is born as a refuge, what about us?”

Winterval

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Over on Facebook I shared an article about Fox News’ “fight” for a “traditional Christmas”. Pat challenged me to make a meme. Challenge accepted!

It would seem that in the USA they’re having fun and games over who is allowed to party. Some angry theists are being taken to court by angry antitheists about who is allowed to have a party. Lots of cava is being spilled and people are crying over it.

Those of you who know me well will know I’m well up for Christmas and will be partying like its going out of fashion! But when you are a priest and have to hold the liturgical life of the local church it becomes part of you. As the article explains, Christian celebrations in december begin with Advent. So I will be partying but we’ll be doing it at Christmas. For now it’s Advent.

And this is the UK. No one is banning Christmas. That’s just a sneaky attempt every year by racists to recruit people to their cause.

Happy advent!

In The Beginning Was The Word

I’ve never posted a sermon before.  I’ve never thought that it would add a great deal to the ether.  However, 80 people of varying ages were all talking about the incarnation in the hall this morning after I blindsided them with this.

I read out John 1:1-14, prayed and then climbed the pulpit.  I then put on a call centre headset (a relic from one of my previous lives) and then acted this out:

Hello, you’ve got through to the Big Brother research office. My name’s Robb and I’ll be taking your call this morning.  Before we go any further I need to inform you that all calls are recorded and may be broadcast in the final edit of the show… In any order…. and…. at any time between now and the year 2059.

At this time I need to remind you that Big Brother is a reality TV show.  That means that we are looking to show people in their entirety.  This means that we may choose to use any of the material that is recorded and that it is the responsibility of the participants for their own behaviour.

If you are prepared to agree to these conditions then we can proceed with the call.

[pause]

You are?

May I remind you that your answer is legally binding.

[pause]

You’re sure?

[pause]

OK that’s excellent.

Before we go any further it is important to establish that it will be practical for you to come down here.  Will you be able to come down here for an extended period of time?

[pause]

So you are able to leave your Father behind and come down here?

[pause]

You will?

Excellent.

Are there any special arrangements that we need to make for your arrival?

No, you are happy to come down here in exactly the same way as everyone else?

That’ll be good.

Have you seen the programme before?  Things are a little different now that we have moved to channel five.

[pause]

You have?  Great!

It is important that you realise the full implications if you are to come down here.

Let’s start with some of the practical matters.

Coming down here will mean that you will be required to do many of the normal things that everyone else does.  There is no special treatment for people.  There will be times for people to eat and sleep as you would expect.

Do you have any dietary requirements?

… ah I see, you want to be treated just the same as everyone else.  That’s good.

As you are aware of the format of the programme, I won’t need to remind you that you will be entering the house with 12 other men.  These people will be your companions when you come down here.

[pause]

So you are looking forward to meeting people.  Great.

In the past we have had some… erm…. interesting people.

So far this year we have already got a banker who would be joining you down here.

We have been a little worried that this may cause some friction.

[pause]

Well some people are obviously concerned about the current financial situation.

[pause]

Well people feel that they have been betrayed by them.

Now that they have received all these taxes as well…

[pause]

So you think that is someone you could spend some time with.  Goood.

We do tend to attract colourful characters down here.  If you remember a few years ago in the celebrity version of the show we had Samantha Fox.  As I am sure you know she had a colourful career in the newspapers.  Obviously if you come down you may well find yourself spending time with people like her.

[pause]

Good… I just wanted you to be aware because people often worry that this sort of thing can affect your reputation.

[pause]

So you’re quite prepared to live with the consequences…

…excellent…

Obviously not everyone is as… erm… exotic as this.

In the past we have found that people often respond well to someone they can relate to… the common man shall we say?  With that in mind we have already signed up a guy from Whitby.  He has spent most of his working life on the trawlers.  He has a really strong accent and he doesn’t take any nonsense.  We’re hoping people will be able to relate to him.

[pause]

Ah, I see… These are just the sort of people you are hoping to meet whilst you are down here.

[pause]

It is our experience that over the time you spend down here you will probably become close to these people.  Obviously some people are more popular than others.

We have found that different groups can form.  Sometimes this happens because of personality conflicts but sometimes over something like race or religion.  Who can forget what happened with Shilpa Shetty.

[pause]

Yes I see what you mean about having to meet people as they are.

[pause]

The problem is that sometimes things can turn nasty.  Sometimes people are forced out of the house.

[pause]

You are aware that this may be a very public experience.

[pause]

Yes

[pause]

So you are happy to follow someone else’s will.

[pause]

Even if it isn’t yours

[pause]

No matter how painful the experience is

[pause]

Sorry sir, I was just wondering if I could take your name?

OK…

Could you hold on a moment.

[Covering microphone]

Christina, Christina. I’ve got another one.

You know…

Come on you know the ones. The religious ones.

This one’s priceless. You should have heard the name he gave.

Perhaps I should ask him if he knows David Ike.

[Uncovering microphone]

Sorry about that sir, I was just having a problem with my computer.

Where were we?

I’m going to need a few more details. It will be really good to have you come down here…

[Leave Pulpit]

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Amen

Less Stuff = More Happiness

This advent has been a time of much soul-searching in our household.  Between the two of us we have been looking at what “life is all about”.  Between us we have notched up a collective 16 years of university education during our married life and now we have recently [insert artistic license] become adults in a world that has moulded and shaped us into the people that we are.  As I come towards the end of a curacy we may for the first time in our adult lives move to a place that we will be able to settle down in and call home.  We may be able to leave behind the transient life we have known together since we were 18 years old and find a place that we will live in together for an extended period of time.  The 8 dwellings we have lived in during our married life, often for little more than a year at a time will become a thing of the past.

And it is with this in mind that we realise we have become a product of the national educational system of our country of birth, England.  We went to university in the late 1990’s when our country’s policy was to teach all of our young people to live in debt.  The perceived wisdom from government was that we could all buy ourselves some happiness and economic growth.  TV ads were predominantly for credit that was freely available and highly desirable.  Those years of university education were predominantly paid for using a variety of state sponsored credit programmes.

This system has been designed to make us all desire more and more things in our lives to make us happy.  We still live in a world that tells us we can buy happiness on interest free credit.  We have been reevaluation where we stand in all of this….