Rocky Icon

Jan 17

I’ve used this clip a lot as an introduction to Sacramental Alt:Worship in lectures.  I’m always asked where it can be found and I can’t for the life of me find it again.  @frsimon suggested I bung it back up on YouTube so here it is in all of it’s glory.  Whoever created this deserves some king of medal.

Paper Chain Prayers

Dec 24

At the Christmas Rock Mass we prayed for Jesus to bring light into the dark situations around the world and in our lives.  I bought a couple of paper chain making kits from eBay.  With suitable music playing, people wrote their prayers on the back of their links and added them to the chain.  It was really powerful as our prayers joined together and we all gathered around the altar together.  We all took a glow stick (or many as some of our kids saw fit) and made bracelets to symbolise the light of Christ entering into the world.  Then the president brought all of the prayers together at the end and offered them before God as they were placed around the crib scene.

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Yes, that’s Richie Sambora on the telly.

Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger) – Lyrics Adapted by Ruth and Robb

Dec 24

Since the late 19th century, The Church has been held hostage to one of the most theologically facile songs that has ever been sung during a service. All of the accusations of “pie in the sky when you die” and a “bearded man in the sky” can be found in this universal favourite.  When combined in a service filled with “baby” Jesus and the Christmas “Story” references, The Church has been inoculating people to the revolutionary faith we have in Christ.

Away in a Manger has become such a large part of our wider cultural memory that planning a service without it can cause disagreements both inside the church community and outside of it. Ruth and I have talked about this problem for many years.  A couple of years ago we wondered what it would be like if Away in a Manger was as revolutionary as the Magnificat. Using those words as our inspiration we decided to rewrite Away in a Manger from the perspective of Mary looking at her newborn child.

We have used it for the last couple of years in a variety of different contexts and it goes down really well.  We reworked it for Metanoia and the Rock Mass but we’re only half way through recording it so here is a simple arrangement to show how it could be used on organ or guitar.

Let’s take back Christmas!

Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger)

“Away in a manger, asleep on the hay,
I will watch over you at the end of the day,
The stars in the bright sky shine down where you lie,
As angels sing ‘Glory be to God on high’.”

“My spirit rejoices, for news of your birth
Like wildfire will spread over all of the earth;
A light in our darkness, a hope for the poor,
God’s gift to all people of life evermore.”

“Your name shall be Jesus, for this holy night
Is fulfilment of promise through God’s saving might;
But now sleep in peace, as I sing lullaby,
I will stay by your side til your dawning is nigh.”

– Lyrics adapted by Ruth and Robb Sutherland

Nursery Rhyme Christingle

Dec 23

The Nursery Rhyme Mass is one of the most interesting developments in sacramental ministry with children that I’ve come across.  Fr Simon and other contributors like Mtr Leah have been using familiar tunes to engage the young and old with the sacraments.

I haven’t yet had time to be able to incorporate a regular worship event like this myself.  However, our annual Christingle service is the perfect occasion for something like it. I discovered a book called Nursery Rhyme Nativities on Amazon and looked through it.  It’s great if you are putting on a Nativity Play but we build the crib during the service.  We had to pick and choose bits from different parts of the book.  We rewrote a few bits of it here and there to improve the scan of the lyrics.

I combine a knitted nativity set and a last supper set to give a big gang of Magi in one part of the church and shepherds in another.  Mary and the angel Gabriel start in one corner and Joseph in another.  Children run around the church finding the characters as we place them under the altar and recount the history of our faith.

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Our service was also Star Wars Themed but that came through the use of videos, building a life sized Sith Lord, playing with lightsabers and the sermon.

Christingle 2015

Welcome

Carol – Come and Join the Celebration

Find Mary and Angel – Tell our story

Mary’s Song – To The Tune of London Bridge
The angel came to Mary’s home,
Mary’s home, Mary’s home.
The angel came to Mary’s home,
In the morning.

Mary wondered why he came,
Why he came, why he came.
Mary wondered why he came,
In the morning

The Lord our God has chosen you,
Chosen you, chosen you.
The Lord our God has chosen you,
This fine morning

You’ll be mother to his son,
To his son, to his son.
You’ll be mother to his son,
Precious baby.

He will lead us back to God,
Back to God, back to God.
He will lead us back to God,
Precious baby.

Let it happen as you say,
As you say, as you say.
Let it happen as you say,
Mary whispers.

Find Joseph – Tell our story

Hymn – O Little Town of Bethlehem

Lullaby – To The Tune of Frere Jaque
Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Angel’s promise keeping,
Angel’s promise keeping,
Son of God,
Son of God.

Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Joseph now is peeping,
Joseph now is peeping,
Full of joy, full of joy.

Baby’s sleeping, baby’s sleeping,
In the straw, in the straw.
Mary now is weeping,
Mary now is weeping,
Tears of Joy,
Tears of Joy.

Carol – See Him Lying in a Bed of Straw

Reading – Luke 2

Find Shepherds – Tell our story

The Shepherds’ Song Part 1 – To The Tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Shepherds go down to Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Shepherds go down to Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

The shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
The shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

They worshipped the baby in Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
They worshipped the baby in Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Carol – Silent Night

Take Shepherds back to the hillside – Tell our story

The Shepherds’ Song Part 2
Back to the hills near Bethlehem,
Bethlehem, Bethlehem,
Back to the hills near Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Find The Magi – Tell our story

The Magi’s Song – To The Tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Lead the wise men from afar,
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Stable door is now ajar.
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Magi bring gifts from afar,
Up above the sky so bright,
Letting in the heavenly light.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Now we know just where you are.

Silent Night Video

Sermon – The Light of the World vs The Dark Side

Take the Magi away to the east end.  Tell of Mary, Joseph and Jesus fleeing to Egypt as refugees – Tell our story

Prayers

The Lord’s Prayer

Song – Sing Christingle
Give Out Christingles
Song – Mary’s Lullaby (Away in a Manger)

I’ll blog this tomorrow as it’s a post in itself.

Glow Sticks to Take Into the World

Blessing
May the joy of the angels,
The eagerness of the shepherds,
The perseverance of the Magi,
The obedience of Mary and Joseph
And the peace of the Christ Child
Be yours this Christmas,
And the blessing…

Carol – Come and Join the Celebration

After coffee during which the kids were playing, this had happened!

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Don’t Stop Believing – Nativity Lyrics

Dec 22

Last year Bishop Steve Croft sent the clergy in his diocese a Christmas Card containing his own reworked lyrics for Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.  Ali forwarded the card to us in the New Year and we’ve been looking at how we could play it at the Christmas Rock Mass with our band Metanoia.  As Ruth and I have played the song in Silverthorn, it wasn’t a difficult task.  We have slightly reworked his lyrics as they didn’t quite scan.  We’ve also put the ending back in as it’s so perfect.  We’ve used it in Worship at Wakefield Cathedral last week and Holy Nativity Last Night.  It works really well!

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey/Steve Croft/Metanoia

In a lonely world, suddenly a new life stirred
The night a child was born down in Bethlehem
When the girl’s time came, there was no room at the inn
The night a child was born down in Bethlehem

A hillside on a cold dark night, the winter skies ablaze with light
Choirs of angels singing filled the skies-it went on and on and on and on

Glory, Glory, peace on earth, goodwill to all
Oh, Glory, Glory in the heights,
Glory, glory, sing with us the angels’ song, oh,
Glory, glory in the heights!

Straight away, the shepherds came, knelt and learned the baby’s name
Wrapped and cradled in a cattle stall, in Bethlehem
Mary’s child, Son of God, helpless babe, creation’s Lord
Angel’s singing fills the skies, it goes on and on and on and on

Glory, Glory, peace on earth, goodwill to all
Oh, Glory, Glory in the heights,
Glory, glory, sing with us the angels’ song, oh,
Glory, glory in the heights!

Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin’, God is with us, woah!
Don’t stop believin’, Hold on…                   God is with us, woah!
Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin’, God is with us, woah!
Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin’, God is with us, woah!
Don’t stop believin’,                             God is with us,
Don’t Stop!

This Advent I Will Take Time To…

Nov 29

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Fifty sheets of card cut into A5, 5 minutes on photoshop and £3 for the magnet from eBay.  And of course my handy pack of felt tips from Bargain Madness.

Fridge magnet prayers.  “This advent I will take time to…”

We spend so much time running around being human doings instead of human beings.  This advent we’ve made decisions about how we are going to deepen our relationship with God and with our friends and family.  It’s going up on the fridge at eye height to remind us to drink more tea, to pray more, to laugh more… or whatever we decided as we were praying this morning.

Hail Holy King – A Reworked Hymn for Christ The King

Nov 16

About six months ago we were talking about Hail Holy Queen. Let’s face it, we’d been watching Sister Act.  We wanted to sing it with Metanoia but needed to make it work liturgically. We’ve reworked it to be about Jesus for Christ The King.  We did it last night at Rock Mass and it worked really well.

We also punked it.  But you don’t have to.  Apologies for the formatting on my blog.  The theme doesn’t have a way of formatting that is good for lyrics.

Hail Holy King – Metanoia

1. Hail, holy King enthroned above, Hallelujah!
Hail! King of mercy and of love! Hallelujah!

Triumph, all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

2. Our life, our sweetness here below, Hallelujah!
Our hope in sorrow and in woe, Hallelujah!

3. To thee we cry, poor sons of Eve, Hallelujah!
To thee we sigh, we mourn, we grieve, Hallelujah!

4. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, Hallelujah!
Towards us thine eyes compassionate, Hallelujah!

5. The cause of joy to us below, Hallelujah!
The spring through which all graces flow, Hallelujah!

Angels, all your praises bring,
Earth and heaven, with us sing,
All creation echoing,
Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

Harvest with the Bigatron

Nov 12

This isn’t my idea, credit belongs with Fr David Teasdel in Altofts. We were talking about how we were both doing an all age harvest that week in school with 400 children from age 4-11. He said “Easy! BIGATRON” as though that is a satisfactory answer to any harvest question. 

This is tried and tested. A lot. 

The BIGATRON is one of those big opaque boxes from your office with a sign that says BIGATRON. Head to the supermarket and buy veg that comes in different sizes. Cherry tomatoes and beef tomatoes.  Sprouts and cabbages.  Put the big ones inside the BIGATRON and the little ones on the table next to it.  

  
Forgive me for paraphrasing in short hand but I tend to talk without script – this generally goes on for a lot longer with all sorts of dramatic gestures (benefit of being an RE teacher for five hours a day in my previous life):

Last night I fell and hit my head and came up with this amazing idea for an invention.  It’s called the BIGATRON!  It is an amazing thing!  It will solve all world hunger!  This is the BIGATRON!  It works with one magic word…

I generally at this point ask about magic words. Some of the sweetest. Conversations have happened with 400 kids present about how “please” is a magic word that makes things happen and that “sorry” is a magic word because it makes hurt go away. 

We place the small veg in the box. We chant the magic words….

Bigga bigga bigga bigga BIGATRON!!

And then I pull out the big one. 

I usually have about ten different veg.  Tiny parsnips and giant parsnips. 

It’s a carrot but it’s white!  What’s that all about?

I’m constantly amazed by the number of children who have never seen a parsnip. I digress…

And then invite one of the children to pick an item from the harvest offering to put I the BIGATRON. 

The first time I did this she picked the giant purple quality street.

Magic words. 

Must try harder. 

Rabble rousing from the vicar. 

Ask the child to pull out the big one. 

Sprung. The BIGATRON is not real. 

This is the point where we have the opportunity to explore how there is no magic solution. We are reliant upon the God of creation who made a world that supports life.  Rain falls upon the crops and they grow.  And we are responsible for ensuring that food is fairly distributed to those who need it.  Jesus taught us…

This is a springboard into so many scriptures, so many charities, so many moral dilemmas around good and harvest.  You know what to do. Go and do it in 2016. Sorry I’ve not had chance to blog it earlier.