I’ve been thinking ahead to Bible Sunday and wondering how we might celebrate the Bible. In Church we now use the New Revised Standard Version at our services, but I have been wondering what version of the Bible people actually prefer themselves. Let me know by using the poll below. If you have a particular favourite passage from the Bible, why not leave a comment sharing what it is and why.
I mentioned in this week’s sermon on Mary Magdalene the two musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell. Both have great music and yet present quite different portraits of Jesus. Archbishop Michael Ramsay went to see both of them in the early seventies and this fascinating report of his comments on them appeared in the Montreal Gazette.
I posted this last year and as it is so good I’m repeating it. I’m always interested when people come up with new ways of presenting the gospel story. I was particularly intrigued, therefore, when I came across this ‘Digital Nativity’, which someone has put together for an age when so many people rely upon the internet for their communication. I thought it was rather good, though it might not be to everyone’s taste. I’d be interested to know what people think. It’s best watched full screen.
For those of you who don’t know the hymn I mention in today’s sermon, here it is …
The gospel for this Sunday is the feeding of the five thousand in Matthew’s gospel. I’m not preaching at the main service this week – the priest I live with is doing that. I am giving the talk at our family service. While we were talking about the reading it brought to mind the old folk hymn, “Bread and Fishes,” which I first learned while on a Church Army Holiday Mission in the summer of 1980. As part of the mission we spent a month on the Gower Peninsula in Wales. During our time there we spent several evenings going around local pubs and entertaining the regulars and holidaymakers with folk songs – some religious – and including a brief message and invitation to our other activities. I haven’t sung it for years, and if anyone knows where I might find the sheet music I’d be very grateful – it would be good to sing it in church. Here are the Irish Rovers singing it.
While I’m on the subject of hymns that have a particular resonance in holy Week, here is Graham Kendrick with “Meekness and majesty.” Many years ago, in a previous parish, I used this hymn as a basis for a Lent Course. We took a phrase from the hymn each week, and had a talk about the theological issues, sang the hymn and concluded with communion.
I used “How deep the Father’s love” by Stuart Townend as part of my sermon at the Good Friday liturgy. Here is Stuart talking about how he wrote the hymn.
I used the words of two of Stuart Townend’s hymns in my Good Friday sermon.
Here is the first, the one we have sung twice during Lent: “In Christ alone.”
The second, “How deep the Father’s love,” I used at the end of my sermon as a meditation.
This Sunday the gospel reading in the Revised Common Lectionary is the Samaritan woman at the well. I alluded in my sermon to the fact that she is remembered as Saint Photini, with her own feast day, in the Orthodox Church. For those who would like a fuller account of her life, according to Orthodox tradition, you can read more about her at www.orthodoxchristianinfo.com, which also gives the following Orthodox prayer of Saint Photini:
Illuminated by the Holy Spirit, All-Glorious One,
from Christ the Saviour you drank the water of salvation.
With open hand you give it to those who thirst.
Great-Martyr Photini, Equal-to-the-Apostles,
pray to Christ for the salvation of our souls.