This may seem a strange carol to select for Christmas Eve but I make no apologies. The Coventry Carol comes from the 16th century and was originally part of the mystery plays performed in Coventry. The carol commemorates the 'slaughter of the innocents' following the birth of Jesus as recorded in Matthew's Gospel. I've chosen it because it reminds us that God came to us as a vulnerable baby into a world of threat, danger and death. As we celebrate this Christmas, across our world children are being born into situations no less deadly. If our Gospel cannot speak into their situations and if we have no room for them in the midst of our festivities then it really is not Good News for all.
Saturday, 24 December 2016
Friday, 23 December 2016
Thinking about the shepherds in the fields when the birth of Jesus is announced, I was going to go for Manfred Mann singing Blinded By The Light but opted for this instead. Van Morrison has been a favourite artist for many years and I was pleased Springsteen listed him in his Desert Island Discs. I've had a love/hate relationship with Cliff down the years. He was my mum's favourite and didn't fit into my early 70s obsession with Led Zeppelin, The Who etc. Still I have to respect his place in the development of rock n' roll and his longevity. I also respect the grace with which he has handled his appalling treatment at the hands of the police and media over the last couple of years. Above all I respect his witness as a Christian and his tireless support of Tearfund over decades. For many years every other tour Cliff did was dedicated to raising money for Tearfund long before other musicians found supporting charities the thing to do. Anyway, here it is, Van the Man and Cliff singing Whenever God Shines His Light.
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
A lot of the Advent songs I've chosen are on the theme of waiting; are we ready and waiting for Jesus' return? This song turns the question on its head; will Jesus be waiting for me? If you don't know the answer this is a good time to start thinking about it.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Watson's setting of The Magnificat sung by Merton College choir. Mary's response to the message delivered by Gabriel. Anyone who says that you need to keep faith out of politics just needs to reflect on these words.
Monday, 19 December 2016
Anderson first recorded this song around 1972 with Jethro Tull and it has appeared in various forms since. The question underlying the song is how does the way we celebrate Christmas today relate to the life and teaching on the one who's birth we remember?
Sunday, 18 December 2016
Thorns in the Straw, a gorgeous Christmas song from Graham Kendrick written from Mary's perspective reflecting on the future of her child. Appropriate for the Fourth Sunday of Advent when we remember Mary's obedience and faithfulness.