I want to live alone

A song I’m particularly enjoying at the moment – let the reader understand – but if you think you know why I like it, or even who it references for me, I guarantee that you will be wrong… (grin)

From their third album ”Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” 2009 – new album out soon This is quite a good version, with vocals from a particular goddess πŸ™‚

I wanna live alone
Because the greatest love is always ruined by the bickering
The argument of living
I wanna live alone
I could be happy on my own
Live the rest of my life
With the vaguest of feeling

Wherever you are, Whoever is there
You’ll know that I’ll be here, I’ll be here
Wishing I could be there

So I’m gonna live alone
I’m not saying that our love is the greatest
But I’m in love with you
Wanna stay in love with you
So I’m gonna live alone
Yeah, I’ll be happy on my own
Live the rest of my life
With the vaguest of feeling

Wherever you are, Whoever is there
You’ll know that I’ll be here, I’ll be here
Wishing I could be there

When will I ever learn?

Whatever it takes to fulfil his mission
That is the way we must go
But you’ve got to do it in your own way
Tear down the old, bring up the new

And up on the hillside it’s quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more.
When will I ever learn?

When will I ever learn?

Whatever it takes to fulfil his mission
That is the way we must go
But you’ve got to do it in your own way
Tear down the old, bring up the new

And up on the hillside it’s quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more.
When will I ever learn?

Does the church need more cheese?

A question I started to ponder when I came across this video (via Facebook): This is a very attractive vision – people being accepted for who they are, and being celebrated for the same – which surely has something to do with what Jesus was wanting to show. Yes, I know, we need to talk about the reality of sin, and yes, we need to have a mind to only offering up to God the very best of which we are capable, and yes, we need to make sure that what we do is genuinely worshipful and centred on God and not just about celebrating the fluff found in our navels… but even so. I suspect that this is what (some) ‘happy clappy’ worship captures, and to that extent it is holy, and of God. A place of acceptance and peace which is in stark contradistinction to the surrounding culture; a sign of the Kingdom. I wonder whether the intellectual and sacramental has started to obscure the simply joyful, rather than being a servant of it. Which is a way of saying – our cynicism is a sin. Mea culpa.

A short sermon about music (West Mersea Civic Service 2011)

Those of you who read my Courier articles will know that I have a favourite philosopher, who has had a profound influence on how I understand the world – Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was raised in an extremely musical environment as his parents house in Imperial Vienna was one of the most important musical salons in that city; Brahms, Schumann and Mahler were regular house guests, Richard Strauss would play duets on the piano with Wittgenstein’s brother – this is the context for Wittgenstein to write, after finishing his greatest philosophical work ‘it has been impossible for me to write one word in my book about all that music has meant to me in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?’

Perhaps I should stop there… After all, what can be said in a sermon about music? It is rather like trying to talk about God in some ways – every attempt is bound to fall short of the reality, and yet sometimes we cannot but speak and the words have to stumble out of our mouths. Even shipwrecks have their uses.

Our first reading described the musician David with King Saul; here David can play music to soothe the troubled breast of the king – and this is certainly one element of music, as something which can soothe our spiritual aches and pains – bringing harmony out of discord – and yet, there is so much more to music than this.

In the context of this civic service, where we are dedicating ourselves to the welfare of all, we might perhaps call to mind the wider context at the moment. The financial crisis that has been running for a few years now but has not yet run its full course; the environmental and resource crises that are starting to bite as we start to run up against the Limits to Growth; the frankly frightening world context where violent militancy is on the rise. These are so many deep bass notes in a minor key, and we cannot overcome them with a blithe and bland melody. Yet there are ways to harmonise with those movements in a way that makes the music overall something that can be listened to, something which reflects who we are, something which might, perhaps, even heal. There are things which we can do even in this disquieting context.

For even though I don’t have much confidence that our governing classes have much idea about what is going on – one might say that their range of hearing doesn’t go down as far as basso profundo, or perhaps it’s just that they’re distracted by the sound of cats – my trust in God is still intact. In the end it is not for us to be in control – we are not the composer, we are not even the conductor, we’re not even the first violin – I suspect there is a good Trinitarian image there for Father Son and Holy Spirit – but we do have our own parts to play. We do not have to worry about the overall composition, it is not for us to know how the main themes and contradictions will be creatively resolved, we simply have to play our own part as best we can, confident that the creator can redeem any mistakes that we might make – as those marvellous words of Leonard Cohen have it ‘and even though it all went wrong I’ll stand before the Lord of song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah…’ For where there is no dissonance the music is in the end bland and boring and, most of all, unreal – and surely the complexity is real, the mournful notes are real – and in the end it is from the real deep well of our suffering that we will draw the refreshing water of joy. That is the trust with which we simply have to press on with the tasks that we have been given to do. And we have been told what we need to do: we are to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly before our God.

So may we commit ourselves this day to making real music together, in the service of our community, following the composition of, allowing ourselves to be conducted by, and being led in our playing by, the One in whom all things are harmonious, the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Alive and kicking

Yes, I know, there is more to a good blog that just continually posting YouTube videos but in the words of a good book recommended to me by my dear departed friend F**k it

You lift me up to the crucial top, so I can see
Oh you lead me on, till the feelings come
And the lights that shine on
But if that don’t mean nothing
Like if someday it should fall through
You’ll take me home where the magic’s from
And I’ll be with you

Music

Thinking a great deal about music at the moment, under many different aspects, and came across this poem in a wonderful collection given to me by a friend. This is by Rabia of Basra, translated by Daniel Ladinsky:

IT ACTS LIKE LOVE
It acts like love – music,
it reaches towards the face, touches it, and tries to let you know
His promise: that all will be okay.
It acts like love – music, and
tells the feet, “You do not have to be so burdened.”
My body is covered with wounds
this world made,
but I still longed to kiss Him, even when God said,
“Could you also kiss the hand that caused
each scar,
for you will not find me until
you do.”
It does that – music – helps us
to forgive.