Friday, 31 December 2010

The Old Year Turns

One of my favourite poems is called: 'The Old Familiar Faces'. It speaks of those who have gone - those who we see now in our mind's eye, whose memories are kindled by our remembered affection. I write this as the old year turns and again we stand on the edge of a new year. The distance from our past increases; the space widens and we are ever moving on.

That is what is so inspiring about the Gospel, the Gospel that the Company will seek to share in the New Year. It never changes. Its claims upon us remain the same; the rewards do not deteriorate with the waiting. Hope is the fuel of our endeavours, an unchanging, fully redeeming and renewing hope that claims to take humanity from death to life, from darkness to light. This incorruptible prize of eternal life is the most magnificent gift we can offer to anyone.

The Company is called, commissioned and sent by the One who says: “I Am the Resurrection and the Life”. What an amazing statement! The month of January was named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces, one looking back and one looking forward. There is work to be done, work for the Kingdom. And when we have finished we long to hear those words: “Well done, good and faithful servants”.

So as the year turns and the new unfolds, we seek in the strength He gives us, to carry out the commission we have been given. As a Company, “we are not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God unto salvation”. Let us work while there is still light.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Carols in the Greenhouse

We never thought we would find ourselves singing as a choir in a departmental store. But that's exactly what we did on the 9th and 11th of December, in Beales department store in Tonbridge. We were confined to what I called 'the greenhouse' - a structure which marks the entrance to the store. Mostly glass, we shared the space with a manequin and a few beds! But it was wonderful to be able to read the Gospel accounts of the Nativity and sing, not only well known Christmas music such as Mary's Boy Child and When a Child is born, but also a selection from our musical Stargifts, which we will be presenting next year around the Christmas period. The music was broadcast all over the store and the readings could clearly be heard as they linked together the songs. We also included two songs: 'Behold Zion' and 'Shekhinah', which we had last sung in Israel, in particular on one evening, when we sang over the city of Jerusalem facing the Golden Gate.

We were really encouraged by the response, as people seemed to pass through a tunnel of music as they entered the store. No one stopped us, no one objected to the Bible readings. Where is all this so called opposition to Christian things? I think we are being conned by the PC brigade! The choir sang their hearts out. We were subjected to both warm and cold air as the store heaters gave way to the icy blast of the car park, as the outer doors opened and closed. We had been invited by the Rotary Club of Tonbridge to help them raise money for two worthy causes: the Scott's project and the Kent Air Ambulance. Their target was £1000; in the end they raised over £2000.

So now we look forward to negotiations to see if we can sing the same programme in Bluewater next year. And the New year beckons with new projects: the setting up of a Bible School in Tonbridge; more performances of Yeshua Messiah; the celebrating again of the Seven Feasts of the Lord; and an evening celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible. At the end of the year we look to present Stargifts as the Company's contribution to celebrating Christmas.

As we look back on 2010, we give thanks that the Lord has been good to us and we look forward to further adventures as we seek to proclaim the Gospel and inspire the Body of Christ. It was in Bethlehem, in 2009, that the choir was prophesied over by the pastor of the church where we sang. He said we were like Jehoshaphat's singers, sent ahead of the king's army to inspire the troops in the battle. I don't think the people in Beales would have understood what that meant, but we know!