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  • More of Mary...

    Andy Scott's Hopeful Imagination post today links this which is beautiful.  Yes, it has speculative elements, but I found it very moving.

  • Comma?

    Among last night's readings was the familiar opening of Isaiah 9 which includes...

    "...and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (NRSV)

    " and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (KJV)

    The reader commented that in her country, where the KJV is the translation of choice, preachers often stress the comma between 'wonderful' and 'counsellor' making them two separate attributes.  She asked me which was correct... and I said I didn't know but that in Hebrew there are no commas and that is was an interpretive decision.  Alas my Hebrew knowledge is zero and my interlinear is at church, but I seem to recall that the words aren't even in exactly the same order that the translators use. 

    Alas without seeing the text (in interlinear form) I have no idea which are nouns and which adjectives linked to them so what follows might be utterly flawed, but here's my thought for today... take out all the commas and let each word be a 'name' in its own right:

    He will be called









    How does that shape our reading?

  • Something Special Going On

    Yesterday was for us, like so many churches up and down the UK, the Sunday School nativity and the Carol Service.  And it was a great day.

    The Sunday School service had a repeated refrain 'there's something special going on' and there certainly was.  Although quite a lot of our folk were already away on overseas jaunts (the down side of being so multi-national) the place was pretty full and a fair smattering of visitors/rellies to fill the gaps.  The age of our children means that we have adults joining in with them and there's something kind of fitting about a Canadian hermeneutics lecturer acting the part of head shepherd or an African MBA as one of the magi!  We were guided through some of the many things that make the holidays special by a little angel who eventually found her way to Bethlehem and the stable.  The familiar tear-jerker of young voices singing 'Away in a Manger' crowned the action.  As our response we were invited to write our names on cut out 'baubles' and hang them on the Christmas tree and it was quite special to see young and old, regular and visitor responding.  There certainly was, and more significantly is, something special going on in our church.

    And so to the evening when, after several flurries of snow during the afternoon, we gathered at the C of S down the road for our shared carol service.  In this we had sought quite deliberately to involve people from 'user groups' of the three fellowships involved as well as celebrating the diversity of our own folk.  There was so much that was special, but among the highlights were these...

    • a primary school choir from east Glasgow singing in Latin
    • a Bible reading using a voice simulator (a la Stephen Hawking) by a member of the Guide unit for girls with severe disabilities
    • Bahamian and Zimbabwean readers, rich in emphasis
    • the blending of adult and children's choirs
    • the cooperation of organist and pianist (how often does that really happen?)

    There was a sense of unity, that geography, education, language, physicality were unimportant as this group gathered to 'Prepare to Celebrate.'  As we dispersed, some back to the less affluent East End, some to pack to travel thousands of miles, some to resume the relentless march to 25th December, there was a sense that this had been a special moment and that we were just a little more ready for the coming of Immanuel.

  • A Song for Advent 4

    Helen reminded me of this rather lovely hymn/song which can be found in Mission Praise Complete.  As today is "Mary's" day it seemed good to share it...

    Since the day the angel came
    It seemed that everything had changed
    The only certain thing
    Was the child that moved within
    On the road that would not end
    Winding down to Bethlehem
    So far away from home

    Just a blanket on the floor
    Of a vacant cattle-stall
    But there the child was born
    She held him in her arms
    And as she laid him down to sleep
    She wondered - will it always be
    So bitter and so sweet

    And did she see there
    In the straw by his head a thorn
    And did she smell myrrh
    In the air on that starry night
    And did she hear angels sing
    Not so far away
    Till at last the sun rose blood-red
    In the morning sky

    Then the words of ancient seers
    Tumbled down the centuries,
    A virgin shall conceive,
    God with us, Prince of Peace
    Man of Sorrows - strangest name
    Oh Joseph there it comes again
    So bitter yet so sweet

    And did she see there...

    And as she watched him through the years
    Her joy was mingled with her tears
    And she'd feel it all again
    The glory, and the shame
    And when the miracles began
    She wondered, who is this man
    And where will this all end

    'Til against a darkening sky
    The son she loved was lifted high
    And with his dying breath
    She heard him say 'Father forgive'
    And to the criminal beside
    "Today-with me in Paradise"
    So bitter yet so sweet

    And did she see there...

    Graham Kendrick © Make Way Music

  • Hopeful Imagination 2010

    My turn to be posting here today.