Dear parishioners and friends,
Whilst serving as British ambassador to the USA, Cecil Spring-Rice died there in 1918. In 1908 he had written the words of the patriotic hymn, ‘I vow to thee my country’, referring to “the love that asks no question.”
For Christians, our love for God and for fellow humans are central to our faith. However, Christianity is nota faith that asks no questions. As well as confidence and trust in God there are also mysteries, struggles and doubts. For now, we see “through a glass darkly” as St Paul puts it. It’s good for us that life and faith are full of questions. Just as in science, questions and the challenges of life help us to discover more, know more and grow more. Real faith is a personal relationship with God, not simply a ‘religion’. Maybe this is partly why I enjoy songs and hymns that ask questions. They include Dylan’s Blowing in the wind, Parry’s Jerusalem, Bell’s Will you come and follow me?,Kendrick’s Who can sound the depths of sorrow? and others.
One recent example is Mary did you know.?, a thoughtful, moving, beautiful, 1991 Christmas song by Mark Lowry & Buddy Greene. If you can, please do listen to it. Here are two links to memorable versions on Youtube.
Pentatonix (quintet) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE
Clay Aitken (soloist) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPsgIhlYQmM
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM.
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?
Angela and I both send you our warm greetings for Christmas and 2019
Rev Fred Olney