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- Page 5

  • Cry Freedom - Original Version 1992

    This year's Baptist Assembly featured the hymn "Cry Freedom" which had been specially re-written for the occasion.

    A couple of weeks later we sang it in church.  My pianist thought it seemd famliar, went home and dug through her archives from the old 'County Union' days and discovered a copy of the original words published in 1992 and premiered in Leicestershire.

    Of course, some verses are of their time - references to El Salvador (Romero's time) and South Africa (apartheid) - and some of the language is dated, but there are some verses that are striking even now...


    Cry "freedom" in the church were honest doubts are met with fear

    Where vacuum-packed theology makes questions disappear

    When journeys end before they start and Mystery is clear!

    Cry freedom, cry freedom in God's name...


    Cry "freedom" to the people whom religion has enslaved

    With heresies that tell them they are 'totally depraved'

    Say 'God is good and human kind is in his image made!"

    Cry freedom, cry freedom in God's name...


    Words by Michael Forster, (c) Kevin Mayhew 1992 

    I guess we wouldn't sing these verses at Assembly for fear of offending, so bravo Leics County Union for so doing all that time ago.   As I read the Baptist Times and ponder the responses to people who push our envelope a little, I find hints of the theology this song expresses, and am encouraged that by God's grace and God's Spirit 'freedom' might one day be found - "you shall know the truth (not the dogma) and the truth shall set you free".

  • Judging Judges

    My personal Bible study notes at the moment are centred on Judges and are driving me nutty!  On Jephthah we get a focus on how faithful he was and in regard to his foolish vow and his daughter's death 'at least they kept their promise to God' - great.  On the judges with 30 or 40 sons riding donkeys we get 'this is a sign of wealth' - yes, and...?

    Judges is a complex and confusing book - something the note writer alludes to regularly -  but trying to find neat lessons from it is not helpful or useful.  I am hoping the next chunk, written by an Australian will be more inspiring and less simplistic.

  • A Liturgy for a Deacons' Meeting

    I'm not a big fan of printed liturgy, too often I find that there is, for me, too much congregational response that goes through the mouths without touching the hearts (a but like the old definition of a lecture as the means to transfer information from the lecturer's notes to the students' notes without it passing through the minds of either).  At the same time, I am a big fan of well ordered worship, and tend to do what Patterns and Prayers used to call 'prepared extempore' i.e. I write it for single use.  For all that, every now and then, when I am tired, I do make use of printed liturgies for private devotions because if I don't have the energy to do it myself, someone gives me a structure to work through.

    Tonight we have a Deacons' Meeting.  We are all tired (though at least one will deny it!) and church life is quite demanding.  It seemed right to find some form of liturgy that would mark a change in focus, would slow us down a bit, and remind us that God is in the chaos.

    I'm not the world's greatest liturgist, but I offer this as a possible starting point for other exhausted ministers who wake up thinking 'rats, I need to sort to devotions for tonight's meeting and I've fifty million things to do today.'

  • Compliments.

    Today I went to Skegness (I know how to live!) on a sussing out trip to the church we're taking our wrinklies to for tea at the end of their day at the seaside.  The church secretary said, 'You're a minister?  You don't look like a minister.'


    So, forty seniors on a coach to Skegness with a woman who does not look like a minister.  Can't be bad.

  • Murphy's Law of Research

    When you don't have time before a deadline to do any more new work, suddenly a book comes along that you feel you really ought to have read.