Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Last Post

This blog began exactly 7 years ago on 9 January 2007, and this is the 2,500th posting - a carefully chosen day on which to end the blog. During these 7 years the blog has enjoyed almost 200,000 visits, but in recent months has been struggling to get much over 1,000 visits a month. It seems time to call it a day! I shall however be leaving all the blog entries on-line, and have put the blog in its green colour scheme of Ordinary Time.

We stay in Winchester for our final hymn, 'Let earth rejoice! let all creation sing!' The words are by Peter Simpson and Michael Saward (Jubilate Hymns), and it is sung by the Chapel Choir of Winchester College to the tune Stogursey, by Malcolm Archer.

Let earth rejoice! Let all creation sing!
Heav'n adds its praises to the Saviour King.
Around the throne the shouts of triumph ring.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

To earth he came, a child so long ago.
Light in our darkness, grace and truth to show.
The Word of life, whose gospel now we know.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Despised, rejected, he was crucified;
Suffering Servant, on the cross he died;
true Lamb of God, salvation to provide.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

He rose again, and bursting from the grave
reigns high in glory, who our sins forgave,
now we rejoice, as those he came to save.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

So on this day, O Christ our mighty King,
let all the faithful, praise and honour bring,
our voices blend with heaven's choirs to sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

God bless!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 15

Here we see the crib inside my conservatory. The crib and Christmas decorations remain in place until Candlemas (2 February).

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;


Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance.


In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance.


That was fun!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 14

Past three a clock,
And a cold frosty morning,
Past three a clock;
Good morrow, masters all!

1. Born is a Baby,
Gentle as may be,
Son of the eternal
Father supernal.


2. Seraph quire singeth,
Angel bell ringeth;
Hark how they rime it,
Time it and chime it.


3. Mid earth rejoices
Hearing such voices
e'ertofore so well
Carolling Nowell.


4. Hinds o'er the pearly,
Dewy lawn early
Seek the high Stranger
Laid in the manger.


5. Cheese from the dairy
Bring they for Mary
And, not for money,
Butter and honey.


6. Light out of star-land
Leadeth from far land
Princes, to meet him,
Worship and greet him.


7. Myrrh from full coffer,
Incense they offer;
Nor is the golden
Nugget withholden.


8. Thus they: I pray you,
Up, sirs, nor stay you
Till ye confess him
Likewise and bless him.


Monday, 6 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 13

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.


O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.


Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshipping God on high.


Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.


Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.


Happy Feast!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 12

1. Rejoice and be merry
in songs and in mirth!
O praise our Redeemer;
all mortals on earth!
For this is the birthday
of Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

2. A heavenly vision
Appeared in the sky;
Vast numbers of angels
The shepherds did spy,
Proclaiming the birthday of
Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

3. Likewise a bright star
In the sky did appear,
Which led the wise men
From the East to draw near;
They found the Messiah,
Sweet Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

4. And when they were come,
they their treasures unfold,
And unto him offered
Myrrh, incense and gold.
So blessed for ever
Be Jesus our King,
Who brought us salvation,
His praises we'll sing!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 11

On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring;
On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear the news the angels bring:
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King’s birth.

Then why should men on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
Then why should we on earth be sad,
Since our Redeemer made us glad:
When from our sin He set us free,
All for to gain our liberty.

When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
When sin departs before Your grace,
Then life and health come in its place;
Angels and men with joy may sing,
All for to see the newborn King.

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night;
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night:
“Glory to God and peace to men,
Now and forevermore. Amen.”

Friday, 3 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 10

Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall;
with the poor, and mean, and lowly,
lived on earth our Saviour holy.

And, through all his wondrous childhood,
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.

For he is our childhood's pattern,
day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that Child who seemed so helpless
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing round,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
set at God's right hand on high;
when like stars his children crowned,
all in white shall wait around.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 9

Now the holly bears a berry as white as the milk
And Mary bore Jesus, who was wrapped up in silk.

Refrain: And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be
And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly.
And the first tree in the greenwood it was the holly.

Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass
And Mary bore Jesus, who died on the cross.


Now the holly bears a berry as black as the coal
And Mary bore Jesus, who died for us all.


Now the holly bears a berry as blood is it red
Then trust we our Saviour who rose from the dead.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas Carols - 8

See amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.


Hail that ever blessèd morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He Who built the starry skies;
He Who, thronèd in height sublime,
Sits amid the cherubim.


Say, you holy shepherds, say,
Tell your joyful news today.
Why have you now left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?


“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light;
Angels singing ‘Peace on earth’
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”


Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.


Teach, O teach us, holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.


New Year's Day Message - 2014

"The Gate of the Year" is the popular name given to a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. The title given to it by the author was "God Knows". She studied and then taught at the London School of Economics in the first half of the twentieth century.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Let us listen attentively to a meditation on this poem by Fr Michael Mary - of the Transalpine Redemptorists - who live on Papa Stronsay.

This poem, published in 1908, was part of a collection titled The Desert. It caught the public attention and the popular imagination when the then–Princess Elizabeth handed a copy to her father, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire.

The poem was widely acclaimed as inspirational, reaching its first mass audience in the early days of the Second World War. Its words have remained a source of comfort to the Queen for the rest of her life, and she had its words engraved on brass plaques and fixed to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the King was interred. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was also buried here in 2002, and the words of "The Gate of the Year" were read out at her funeral.

As we begin a New Year, let us ask for God's blessing on our Queen.

God save our gracious Queen,
long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
happy and glorious,
long to reign over us,
God save the Queen!

Thy choicest gifts in store
on her be pleased to pour,
long may she reign:
may she defend our laws,
and ever give us cause
to sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen!

Happy New Year!