Showing posts from February, 2015

Psalm for World Church Sunday

I haven't posted a responsive Psalm for a while, but this is one we a re using in tomorrow's 11am service at the Agape Centre, when we will be reflecting on what the Apostle's Creed says about us us believing in the "Holy Catholic Church", and how teh Methodist  Missionary Society helps us to be a more effective part of the catholic or universal church.

Sing to theLorda new song;
sing to theLord, all the earth.
Sing to theLord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous deeds among all peoples. Honour theLord, all you families of nations,
Honour the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honour theLord, giving the glory due to his name;
bring your offerings and come before him.
Worship theLordin his holy splendour;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, ‘TheLordreigns.’ he will judge all people with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let th…

The God of Carnage and his Wolfish Worshippers

Yesterday on facebook, my friend Ali White, who is one of the actors in Prime Cut's production of "The God of Carnage", plugged the last few shows by posting:
"Four more chances to see God of Carnage in the MAC in Belfast if you fancy it. It even made David Campton laugh and if that's not a recommendation of hilarity I don't know what is." As I commented, I'm not sure whether that is a compliment or an insult... but to be tagged by Ali is flattering enough, and given that she is basing her comment on my carefully cultivated image as a grumpy old man (indeed Ali first knew me when I was a grumpy young man), I suppose it is a fair comment...
Because I did laugh... loudly (loudly enough for Ali to identify my laugh)... But I was genuinely disturbed that I had found it funny, because in many ways there is nothing funny about it. Indeed as the play began I felt slightly ill-at ease given that it begins with the repercussions of a violent encounter betwee…

Outside, the Garden

A piece of doggerel inspired by some bird watching, preparing a Bible study referring to Matthew 6: 25-27, and a song I heard on Monday night sung by Steph Geremia of the Alan Kelly Gang, who were supporting Eddi Reader.

Outside is the garden with birds on the wing and trees coming into leaf offering healing for the soul.
Outside is the garden beyond two panes of glass observed but not experienced watched but not walked in.
Outside it the garden and no sword-wielding angel stands barring the way  to this small suburban Eden.
Outside is the garden but you toil on, brow furrowed ploughing through paperwork in self-imposed exile.
Outside is the garden but inside your central-heated double-glazed bubble  thorns and thistles throttle green shoots.
Outside, the garden...

An Older Song

Today is a day when we celebrate love, although all too often what is described as love is little more than lust. But all genuine human love is an echo of the God who is love, and who has loved us with an everlasting love that is greater than any human love we could imagine. I originally wrote this performance poem for 2 voices, male and female, for an event in May 2007 run by the Down District of the Methodist Church in Ireland, staged at the Waterfront in Belfast, celebrating the Life and Work of Charles Wesley, born 300 years previously. It is based on numerous passages of scripture, especially the Song of Songs and the First Letter of John.
A night for singing songs… Old songs and new songs All based on an older song… THE song… The song of all songs The song of a lady for her lover The Lord for his beloved… A song which began before creation… A song of love which called light into being A song of love which breathed life into clay A song of love which gave us liberty… Yet pursued …

Songs to Sing on the Journey

I've just started re-reading Dave Tomlinson's reflections on Psalm 23 entitled "I Shall Not Want" and towards the beginning he says this of the Psalms:
“Anyone who reads the Psalms systematically, rather than simply dipping into the old favourites, soon discovers that they aren't all as calming, reassuring and comforting as Psalm 23. Some are dance numbers (literally), others are blues songs, some are pretty disturbing in their tone, and a few are downright obnoxious!” Psalm 137, for example, opens with the line immortalized by Boney M: “By the rivers of Babylon; there we sat down and we wept when we remembered Zion.” But don't let the catchy tune and the dance rhythm deceive you: Psalm 137 is a moody lament from an angry soul who has been abducted and forced to live in a foreign land. He's thoroughly fed up. But it gets worse. As he looks on his oppressors, his anger boils: 'Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock…

Re-Imagining our City...

I didn't manage to get to last night's 4 Corners Festival event "Imagining a City Without Walls" with journalist Vicky Costtick, which I was frustrated at given that some of the most formative years of my ministry were spent straddling the peacewall between the Springfield Road and Woodvale, but I did manage to get to this evening's "3 Mayors for 4 Corners" event in Fitzroy Presbyterian (it had to be moved from the Ulster Museum because so many people wanted to attend, a pleasantly recurrent problem in this year's festival). At tonight's event Christ Wilson sang a number of songs, to punctuate Steve Stockman's impersonation of Eamonn Mallie interviewing the three most recent Lord Mayors of Belfast, Gavin Robinson, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and current incumbent Nichola Mallon. But he began and finished the evening with the song he wrote for the launch of the Festival in City Hall a couple of weeks back, based on Steve Stockman's response to J…

Art and Imagination pointing to a Way out of the Woods

Over the course of the past few days and the opening events of the 4 Corners Festival I and others have been exploring the role of imagination and especially the arts in looking at new possibilities for this society, the world at large and the relationships of the people within it. It has been truly stimulating, and I hope that the rest of the week's events will be equally so... And I suppose it was with those thoughts in mind that I went to see the film version of "Into the Woods" yesterday afternoon. As I wrote elsewhere, I've never seen the original stage show and whilst the film made me wish I had, it doesn't necessarily mean that I overly enjoyed the film.
Whilst it was replete with special effects, it wasn't particularly filmic in its scope, betraying its stage origins too obviously, and although the performances were generally excellent, especially the youngest cast members and Emily Blunt (actually unlike other reviewers I thought that Meryl Streep w…