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Barabbas by Jason Eady

A reflection on the biblical character Barabbas by Jason Eady, someone I hadn’t heard of before.
It has some interesting phrasings and perspectives.

“Well the guilt hangs twice as heavy when it’s followed by a surprise
I’d surrendered, I was ready to give up and do my time
I did not know his name, did not know why he was there
But on this side of forgiveness we both have our cross to bear”


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Feeling Dusty

“Remember, man, you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Many Christians around the world will be hearing those words as part of Ash Wednesday liturgies.
Apart from making my annual declaration about giving up needless asceticism for Lent, what can be learnt from the season?
Thoughts of 40 days of denial (or any denial, anytime) is counter-productive if it is thought to be emulating or repeating what Jesus did.
Jesus wasn’t simply denying himself for a time, he was contending against the forces of spiritual darkness and winning.
Any denials of our own simply point to our own inability to prevail against evil.
They usually demonstrate our own inability to prevail against ourselves.
Any asceticism on our part should not emphasise our capacity to emulate, but our frailty and dependence on Jesus’ achievement.
It is in the completeness of our weakness and inability that the extent of the Lord’s victory is come.
We don’t inspire ourselves through convincing ourselves of our capacity to walk like Jesus.
Our inspiration is a conviction of our incapacity, and the knowledge of both Jesus’ actions and the spiritual victory he shares with his people.


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Theological Statement

I’m glad Easter is not just one day a year for Christians.


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Here We Come A Wassailing – Christmas (Sunday) Songs 2017 Day 31

As thoughts of Christmas give way to those of New Year the most apt way to leave Christmas Songs 2017 is with Kate Rusby’s rendition of Here We Come A Wassailing.
“Wassailing” is the practice of going door to door singing Christmas songs and wishing folk well.
A blessed new year to anyone reading.


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The Coventry Carol – Christmas Songs 2017 Day 30

Close to the end of Christmas Songs 2017.
Here’s Sufjan Steven’s version of The Coventry Carol, a song derived from the biblical text dealing with Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. The vocal on this features Marla Hanson.

1.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
2.
O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
3.
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.
4.
That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.


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Star Of The East – Christmas Songs 2017 Day 29

Star Of The East is yet another Christmas song that I hadn’t heard before.
The lyrics are translated to English by George Cooper, presumably from the German of Alfred Hans Zoller. The music is by Amanda Kennedy.
This rendition is by Judy Garland of all people.
Apparently it was released in the 1940s.
It contains the first verse, refrain, and sixth then fifth verses.
Her voice is so pure back then.

1.
Star of the East, Oh Bethlehem’s star
Guiding us on to Heaven afar!
Sorrow and grief and lulled by thy light,
Thou hope of each mortal, in death’s lonely night!
Refrain.
Fearless and tranquil, we look up to Thee!
Knowing thou beamst thro’ eternity!
Help us to follow where Thou still dost guide,
Pilgrims of earth so wide.
2.
Star of the East, thou hope of the soul,
While round us here the dark billows roll,
Lead us from sin to glory afar,
Thou star of the East, thou sweet Bethlehem’s star.
3.
Star of the East, undimmed by each cloud,
What tho’ the storms of grief gather loud?
Faithful and pure thy rays beam to save,
4.
Still bright o’er the cradle, and bright o’er the grave!
Smiles of a Saviour are mirror’d in Thee!
Glimpses of Heav’n in thy light we see!
Guide us still onward to that blessed shore,
After earth’s toil is o’er!
5.
Star of the East, thou hope of the soul,
While round us here the dark billows roll,
Lead us from sin to glory afar,
Thou star of the East, thou sweet Bethlehem’s star.
6.
Oh star that leads to God above!
Whose rays are peace and joy and love!
Watch o’er us still till life hath ceased,
Beam on, bright star, sweet Bethlehem star!


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Who Is This, So Weak And Helpless – Christmas Songs 2017 Day 28

Who Is This, So Weak And Helpless is another example of a lyric set that moves from the manger to the cross and beyond, this time by William Walsham How.
Vocals by Sandra McCracken from an Indelible Grace release.

1.
Who is this so weak and helpless,
child of lowly Hebrew maid,
rudely in a stable sheltered,
coldly in a manger laid?
‘Tis the Lord of all creation,
who this wondrous path hath trod;
he is God from everlasting,
and to everlasting God.
2.
Who is this – a Man of Sorrows,
walking sadly life’s hard way;
homeless, weary, sighing, weeping
over sin and Satan’s sway?
‘Tis our God, our glorious Saviour,
who beyond our mortal sight
now for us a place prepareth
free from grief and full of light.
3
Who is this – behold him raining
drops of blood upon the ground?
Who is this – despised, rejected,
mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
‘Tis our God, who gifts and graces
on his Church now poureth down;
all his faithful ones empowering
to partake in cross and crown.
4
Who is this that hangeth dying,
while the thieves on either side?
Nails his hands and feet are tearing,
and the spear hath pierced his side.
‘Tis the God who ever liveth
‘mid the shining ones on high,
in the glorious golden city,
reigning everlastingly.