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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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Monday morning brainfreeze made me forget a couple of other excellent Advent songs. Here’s a good version of O Come O Come Emmanuel by Sixpence None the Richer:

And here’s the best version I could find of Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. Almost all the others were to the WRONG TUNE. Again.

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The other day Ros commented that Advent hymns are wonderful. And we don’t sing them all that much. So to cheer a wet and dank Monday morning, a small collection. Starting with Matthew’s Begats, also from Andrew Peterson’s ‘Behold the Lamb’. We were meant to have this in church yesterday, as the Vicar concluded his sermon series in Ruth, but we had technical difficulties, so I’ve been wanting to sing along for 24 hours:

This may not, however, have been what Ros had in mind, so I went hunting for other rousing Advent hymns on YouTube. Not as easy as you’d think. They are mostly too slow, or without voices, or too flouncy and choral, or to the WRONG TUNE (Americans, I’m looking at you here).

I managed to locate a bouncy(ish) version of Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending:

And here’s a far-too-slow version of On Jordan’s Bank, the Baptist’s Cry from the Wells Cathedral Choir.

What I’d really like tho’, is a good video version of Christ is Surely Coming. But there’s only an organ version and one with a single verse. So here are the words. And the tune is Land of Hope and Glory, so I’m sure you’ll manage to hum it for yourself…

Christ is surely coming
Bringing His reward,
Alpha and Omega,
First and Last and Lord:
Root and stem of David,
Brilliant Morning Star:
Meet your Judge and Saviour,
Nations near and far!

See the holy city!
There they enter in,
All by Christ made holy,
Washed from ev’ry sin:
Thirsty ones, desiring
All he loves to give,
Come for living water,
Freely drink, and live!

Grace be with God’s people!
Praise His holy name!
Father, Son, and Spirit,
Evermore the same;
Hear the certain promise
From the eternal home:
“Surely I come quickly!
Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

And finally, one sung with a bit of gusto – When the Lord in Glory Comes:

 

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Advent in the Vicarage is not complete without Christmas music.  The Vicar has banned me from listening to my favourite Christmas cds apart from during this season after rather overwhelming overuse of one of them in the early years of our marriage. So about this time of year I get quite excited about digging through the cd collection to rediscover Christmas Now is Drawing Near by Sneak’s Noyse, a collection of English folk carols that I love. It’s pretty obscure – I first heard it cos my dad had it (and have no idea why he bought it) – and there are no YouTube videos. So imagine a more folky version of this song, and you’ll get the idea:

Another Advent listening favourite is Andrew Peterson’s wonderful album Behold the Lamb (which includes our favourite Matthew’s Begats). Here are a couple of other songs from the album for you to sample:

Of course, we have Carols from Kings type cds too and a mad Celtic instrumental one. This year the Queen and the Joker are joining me in the church Christmas  carol service choir, so we are singing in Thursday evening practices too. Christmas music – just the thing to lift our spirits on dull December days (and a stressy November day too) and point us to the joy and wonder of the incarnation.

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I’ve just got myself a copy of this acoustic album of Psalms 16, 27, 28, 30, 34, 61, 116, 121, 126 and 130 by Matt Searles and sung by Miriam Jones. Wonderfully you can download the album for free this November.

Current fave song is Psalm 126 – a psalm for all in ministry. This is a psalm I know how to sing by heart in Anglican chant, thanks to a rather old fashioned music teacher at my secondary school – this version is waaaaay better.

[HT Ros]

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