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Posts Tagged ‘music’

It’s strange in this time of weirdness that the Vicar is still working and is keeping the rhythm of having a day off. But today was the Day Off and so we did things a little differently. There was gardening and fridge cleaning, and the boys started addressing a Google Keep list of chores that the Vicar has drawn up to save us all from killing each other going nuts.

And it turns out that a sunny afternoon in the garden is a thing of beauty and joy. And even better is standing in the sunshine with a cup of tea, talking over the wall at the bottom of the garden to our dear friend Dreamer, as she sat in her front bedroom window. And following that with throwing a frisbee around the garden to entertain a loopy Vicarage Hound.

Me and the Vicar peeking over our six foot red brick wall

Another joy today was also courtesy of Dreamer, who took an upholstery course during her sabbatical last year. She took pity on us a few weeks ago and offered to repair our disgraceful piano stool, which has totally lacked any sort of padding or cover for far too long. And today she delivered it to the front door and the Vicar reattached it. We are very pleased with it.

 

And the newly covered stool enticed the Engineer to continue playing and practising the ragtime he has discovered over the last few months. And then the Vicar recorded him so you can enjoy it too.

 

I was also going to mention the joy of discovering a short video on Twitter with instructions about how to cut your fringe. Seeing without swiping my hair back is a delight. What a great Day Off. Simple joys.

Eyes with fairly amateur fringe above

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I wrote a few days ago about music as salve for the soul. And today I’ve been listening to another new favourite group – Poor Bishop Hooper. At the beginning of the year, they started a project called EveryPsalm – releasing a song, with accompanying artwork, based on a Psalm every week for three years. Their music is mellow and lyrical, meditative. And a great way to work through the Psalms at a slow pace.

Curious about the group’s name I had a noodle about the internet and discovered that Bishop Hooper was a reformer, and Bishop of Gloucester and then of Worcester between 1550 and 1554. He was married to Anne, who was one of the first women to be married to an English bishop. He was martyred in 1555 after the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne. When he became a bishop he surveyed his clergy and found that many of them didn’t know the Ten Commandments, and that a good number did not know who was the author of the Lord’s Prayer, a situation that he worked hard to remedy.

I was interested to see that amongst his writings was the very topical Homily to be Read in the Time of Pestilence. A good reminder that, in all times of difficulty, everyone needs to repent and believe the gospel.

From Homily to be read in a time of Pestilence

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So, I’ve found that when your head is messy, you can barely read the Bible, you can barely pray, you can barely think of God at all. It’s a struggle to think straight about anything. My brain is a mad butterfly at the best of times, so regulating my thoughts at all in a time of trial was almost impossible.

But I do know that one way that the Lord has provided for his people to fix their eyes on him is through songs and hymns and spiritual songs. I know that a good rousing anthem can tempt me to do the housework I loathe so much. And so throughout the most difficult days I listened to music to soothe my soul. I would go off to the local park with the Vicarage Hound with earphones in, looking at the trees and grass – God’s good creation – and reminding myself of Jesus.

During that time, a friend tweeted an album of music into my timeline. She’d created the artwork for it, and it seemed my sort of thing – folky, bibley. And it was exactly what I needed to listen to. A short album (half an hour’s listening) of gospel folk – Salve by Land and Salt. The songs are quite repetitive – but that was a blessing because I couldn’t remember anything! They have some quirky videos too:

I love the line in this first song:

I may cleanse my hands before I eat

When I’m done, Jesus washes my feet.

I so often felt completely ‘done’, and needed that frequent reminder that Jesus was there to wash my feet. These songs have been such a blessing to me – a gift from the Lord at just the right time.

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Storm Dennis decided that the Vicarage needed a bit of break. So our phone line stopped working two weeks ago. The winds had whipped around the Vicarage and dislodged the wire precariously attached to the side of the house as it makes its way into our junction box and wifi hub.

The phone fixer chap arrived this evening and made some interesting observations:

  1. We had two defunct cables hanging off the house.
  2. The current cable had frayed as it swayed in the wind – which is why we had occasional wifi but no phone.
  3. The wires to the house have been there for about 40 years.
  4. The wire inside the junction box was of a type made during the First World War – the insulation is a giveaway apparently.

The information about the wire reminded me of a snippet I read just the other week in a bound collection of church magazines I found in the churchwardens’ vestry. These magazines were published in 1925, and so I can tell you that the first phone line was installed in our house in October 1925. Don’t forget our number: West Bromwich 172. Sadly, our telephone number, unlike the wiring, has no continuity with the original. And I doubt the Church of England will give you advice if you’re moving overseas either. And alas, we have no choir, for ladies or anybody else, but any offers of help in the matter of church music would still be most welcome.

IMG_20200228_183303853

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Are you free in Oxford tonight, in the Isle of Wight on Friday, in Essex on Saturday or near Harrow on Sunday? You should get yourself to Andrew Peterson‘s concert with Eric Peters. They are both American singer songwriters who tell the gospel story powerfully in song. You might remember Andrew Peterson from this blog before – he’s the author of the much loved Matthew’s Begats. He and his friend Eric sing of God’s grace and goodness in creation, in tough times, in the Lord Jesus. We heard them in Birmingham last night and enjoyed it very much and came home laden with new music to listen to.

Andrew sang this song which includes the lines:

I thought that all my struggles

Would be victories by now

But I confess

That the mess is there.

Just the song for me!

And Eric sang this:

So, my recommendation is that if you’re available, you should go. Really. Details of the concerts can be found on Andrew’s website – scroll to the bottom of the page to find the links.

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Still bogged down in book writing, so just a few things that have been on my mind this week:

  1. It’s about time to fetch the Resurrection eggs out. Don’t worry about doing the dozen. If you manage half of that you’ll doubtless do better than the Vicarage. Do some – it’s fun, a great way to prepare for Easter and an excuse for early Easter chocolate, unless you’re Lentenly fasting, of course.
  2. I’m loving the music from Ordinary Time – folky acoustic adaptions of traditional hymns. Mellow and lovely.
  3. I ordered a bunch of copies of The Mystery of the Empty Tomb for our toddler group for Easter – it has lovely pics and a really clear story. 10ofthose do very fast delivery if you want some too. And give you a one hour delivery time slot. Magic. I clubbed together with some other clergy wives on the conference to get a good price. on a bulk order. Perhaps you could do a joint order with other local churches. You could make a couple of calls and save everyone money.
  4. I have about 3 weeks to finish 2 chapters, edit everything to some sort of coherence, write a final chapter and send to my editor. Messy Meals and Messy Celebrations are next week’s challenge. Am currently wondering how many easy peasy meals I can plan for the coming weeks to allow more writing time. Macaroni cheese again anyone?

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I’ve been reminded of another couple of lovely songs for Advent. This is taking away a lot of the stress of service planning for the next few weeks!

This is quite zippy, tho’ guitar might not be my first choice for accompaniment for Hail to the Lord’s Anointed (YouTube is, as usual, full of WRONG TUNE versions):

And I love Maggi Dawn’s haunting song, Into the Darkness, but it’s hard to find. There is just this one YouTube clip, and I don’t think we’ve got it in our extensive cd collection so haven’t been able to sing it in church (we don’t have a music team just now).

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