Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning after a brief plug for the Trendlewood Community Festival on August 26th:

I've heard fantastic singing in churches. Singing that would raise the roof. Surprisingly it is often best at funerals of church members. But not always.

A few years ago I was leading a funeral service. The atmosphere was low; the singing disappointing. The first hymn was The Lord's My Shepherd, a version of Psalm 23, to the well-known tune of Crimond.

We reached the end and I felt I had been singing largely solo throughout. The organist continued. No, I thought, he thinks there's another verse. Then I became aware that some people were singing, albeit quietly. The last verse. The verse I'd finished.

I got one of those adrenalin rushes you get when you know you've made a mistake. How many verses did I sing wrong? One? Two? All of them?

When you make a blunder the only thing to do, once you've established that somebody noticed, is to eat humble pie. I messed up. I fessed up.

It's 50 years since Bristol was rocked by the sound of the sonic boom as supersonic jet engines, which later powered Concorde, were tested over the city. The 'boom' damaged buildings.

The MOD even, I am told, paid compensation to a church whose roof cracked.

Churches have been part of the landscape of our city for many years. Many of them predate the bicycle, let alone sonic booms in the sky. They represent a time when the most up anybody could achieve was to climb the steeple.

Cracked roofs or dodgy singing vicars, churches represent an abiding hope in a God who was the shepherd of shepherds when King David wrote his psalm. And they remind us, if we heed it, to give glory to the God of sheep and technology; of buildings, planes and people.

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