Why should the Presbyterians have all the good music?

January 24, 2016

It’s been a while since I wrote about Christian music, but something this morning really made me pause and think.

Horatio Spafford is known for a few things, principally as a chum of great evangelist Dwight Moody and the writer of “It is well with my Soul” – a hymn inspired by the tragic loss of his four daughters in a shipwreck when crossing the Atlantic to holiday in England. The hymn, published by Sankey to a tune by Philip Bliss, is a standard in traditional protestant Christian churches, an inspiring message that whatever the world throws at a person God’s love and grace are sufficient to meet the challenge. It’s a hymn strong on key Christian themes, and recognised and sung across the English-speaking world.

Which is why I’m rather disappointed that Matt Redman nicked the chorus to shore up one of his recent compositions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Harvest Songs – Where’s all the new material?

September 23, 2013

I’m playing at church on Sunday. My minister is talking to me about Harvest themed songs, and he hasn’t found much to enjoy from the “modern” worship canon.

Not that there is much really.

Harvest for most Christians is about thanking God for the abundance of creation. Even with all the skill in the world, farmers rely on nature to operate within normal tolerances and for us, that’s in the gift of Almighty God. We like a good knees-up. Anyone who thinks we don’t know how to party has never read about Jesus’ first recorded miracle – the whole water into wine thing. We are encouraged to celebrate, but apparently we must do it with a tragically dated soundtrack.
Read the rest of this entry »


Give me that old time religion… it’s good enough for me.

April 16, 2013

Church on Sunday was great. There was a fantastic sermon and some good old time hymns mixed in with the modern songs. I’m not saying church is all about the music, but given I was playing the piano, it was a key factor in my thinking. Read the rest of this entry »


Psalm 150 – and why the guitar is an instrument of truth.

February 6, 2013

Have you read Psalm 150? It’s a bit of the Bible which is quite short and to the point, but also very clear on a single issue.

Praise God. Praise him with music, and dancing.

I can’t dance. Read the rest of this entry »


Clued up church worship.

July 5, 2012

I’m a huge fan of “I’m sorry, I haven’t a Clue” on BBC Radio 4. One of their famous games, and one we’ve tried before is “One Song to the Tune of Another” in which, well, you can guess.

As it happens, organists have been playing this particular game for years, dropping alternative tunes onto the unsuspecting congregation, sometimes without even the foreknowledge of the presiding minister, and occasionally without warning the choir. Read the rest of this entry »


Singing for the dead, to the living

March 14, 2012

I have just had the most surreal afternoon imagineable. This morning, while enjoying my free Starbucks latte, I read on Twitter that my mate @PastorEv was facing a tough afternoon, singing “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring” which is famous, twiddly, and quite high with a small funeral party who were mostly non-churchgoers.

I asked if he needed backup. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating in a minor key

November 26, 2011

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, and I’m leading worship at a little church in Darlaston. When I say leading worship, I mean “doing everything” – I’ve picked the hymns, will lead the prayers, will preach and generally stand at the front looking important. Read the rest of this entry »