Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Ode to a Slice of Treacle Tart

It really was the most delicious slice of treacle tart I think I have ever tasted. Just melt in the mouth stuff. Sitting at lunch with friends, swapping stories, including an amazing true one about a man, his son and his dog walking on water!

Ian (who heads up the technical team) and I were at Moggerhanger Park, a delightful, beautifully restored Georgian house in Bedfordshire. The house has connections with the Clapham Set, which included William Wilberforce - famous for bringing before Parliament the act to abolish slavery. We were there to talk about the possibility of staging the 'Yeshua Messiah!' musical in the grounds and as a result, we were shown some of the exciting plans they have for the park, including an open air theatre. It looks like we could be part of a proposed camping weekend next summer: A sort of festival, maybe, when we shall be presenting the musical on the Saturday night of the August Bank Holiday weekend. We were shown around the grounds and in particular, admired the lovely walled garden, a possible site for our concert if the theatre isn't ready.

This meeting came off the back of an exciting weekend, when we presented the musical in Loughton, Essex, to some 360 people in a school hall. About 25% of the audience were not Christians and there were also some 50 Jewish people too. Some Jewish people even sang in the choir with us. It was a wonderful, uplifting evening. I met David Winter of Revelation TV, so it looks as if there might be an opening there, as I have to write to him in the next few days.

And so on to Herstmonceux where, on June 4th, we shall be presenting the musical in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. But I shall miss that amazing tart and so will have to patient and wait until next summer for some more!

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Only Way is Essex

The M25 is a wonderful motorway when it works. It's the victim of its own success: If I had a pound for every time I've travelled it I would be a rich man. It's a gateway to the west and the north; nearly every long journey involves this motorway. The beauty of England and Wales opens up from this starting point.

I remember the first time I travelled it alone: It was the occasion of my father's death. I hadn't long passed my test and with some trepidation I set out for Essex on a late, cold evening in December, when the mists seem to hug the motorway as I drove through the night. That was my introduction. Twenty-five years and many musicals later, we take the 'Yeshua Messiah!' musical to Loughton in Essex.

An awful lot has happened in the world since that first lonely journey, but the message of the hope of the Gospel remains intact. And that gives a strong sense of perspective. My father and mother have been prayed into glory; that's the best gift I could pray for them. They both made late decisions, but they're there! As I write this, I am listening to John Rutter's version of the spiritual 'Deep River' which includes the words:

"Deep river my, home is over Jordan,
O don't you want to go to that Gospel Feast,
That promised land where all is peace."

Many times I've crossed the Dartford Crossing into Essex, the county that I grew up in. And though many of the 'old familiar faces', as the poem says, have passed on, there burns in my heart a desire to share the hope of the Gospel. That we will do on May 14th when we present the musical together with Jewish and Messianic singers, having crossed over the 'deep river' of the Thames.