2. The Woman at the Well – Coins in a Fountain

John 4:5-42 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%204:5-42

When Jesus chooses to talk to the Samaritan women she reacts with shock. Jesus is breaking all social convention a Jew, a man on his own talking to a lone Samaritan women. In this one simple act Jesus destroys generations of division and prejudice.

As the story continues we learn more of the gift of Jesus Christ to this world. He sees through the words of the woman, demonstrating that he already knows who she is and her supposed misdemeanours and unworthiness and yet he still offers her ‘living water’.

Nothing this woman has done, nor anything about who is or where she comes from can separate her from the new life that Jesus offers to her. He wants her and all who know her to understand who he is and what God has to give.

Fear is always dark. Fear of others keeps us in our ignorance and separation. We always have far more in common with our fellow human beings, than we do things which separate us.

Choose not to dwell in the dark of fear. Step out into the light. Sing a song of love during this time of Lent. Sing until your throat is sore.

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Fear is dark but my love is a lantern
Shining up like coins in a fountain
Hope is a tree sitting on a mountain where the grass don’t grow
There’s a sad old sea but my love is an island
Wild and free like the hills in the highlands
Hope is a breeze that brings me back to dry land
Where the flowers grow
Love is a baby born
Love is the last unicorn
Love is the only song I’ll sing
Hate is a poison
Love is a remedy
Singing out like the sweetest of melodies
Hope is a ghost in the deepest of memories
Stronger than ten of me
Fear is the enemy
In the dark and it creeps like a shark
In the coldest sea
In the deepest part but
Hope is the beat in the oldest heart
A hand in a hand and a brand new start
Love is a fireside
Warm on the coldest of nights
Love is the only song I’ll sing, oh
Love is the truest of words and
Love is the last winter bird and
Love is the only song I’ll sing
Oh I’ll sing
‘Til I can’t sing no more
Oh I’ll sing
Til my throat is sore
Songwriters: Michael David Rosenberg
Coins In A Fountain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

1. Nicodemus – Somebody’s Love

John 3:1-15 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203:1-15

Deciding to follow someone or something isn’t a passive thing to do. When we decide to ‘follow’ we enter into a relationship. If that relationship is to be something meaningful and worthwhile it will take time, effort and a certain amount of sacrifice. If, like me, you were to choose to follow a football team who only ever seem to have to a limited amount of success the following can be quite painful at times!

In this song Passenger sets out before us some of the difficulties of being in a relationship and of being on our own. Of course, here the song is talking about a romantic relationship but there are certain echoes that resound with our spiritual relationship. Choosing to follow Christ demands a great deal from us and there is great potential for us to be burned in may ways as a part of that relationship. Christ himself says to Nicodemus we need to be ‘born again’, letting go of our old life and being reborn in the Spirit of God. I believe that being a Christian is not something that is meant to be safe, or easy but I also believe that dwelling within God’s love for us opens our hearts to live a full life in Christ. A life rich with light and colour.

As we journey through the period of Lent we are called to a closer examination of our walk with God. To ensure that we are giving to God the time, effort and sacrifice that his love for us deserves. We also know that however dark and painful our wilderness experiences may be we always have the hope of Easter to look forward to and we always have ‘Somebody’s love to fall into.’

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Oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
To crawl into
Go and get yourself lost
Like you always do
Sail into the blue
With nobody next to you
Oh but when you wanna get yourself found
There may be no one around
You sink without a sound
You know it’s true
Oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
What you’re saying is true
You ain’t no fool you ain’t no liar
You’re never gonna get yourself burnt
If you don’t start no fires
But with no fire there is no light
With no light you’ll never see
All the colors in the world
And all the love that’s inside me
When the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
Oh to crawl into
And oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
And oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
To crawl into
Songwriters: Michael David Rosenberg
Somebody’s Love lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Passenger through Lent

A few Years ago I wrote a series of reflections on songs by The Streets to use at various services through the season of Lent, you can read them here and in the posts that follow that link.

This year I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Passenger. Michael David Rosenberg (read about him here) makes music that connects with me. So I thought that through this years season of Lent I would use some of his songs to help me to reflect on some Lenten themes. His music often touches on the deep things of life and love while maintaining a deeply ironic sense of humour that appeals to me.

I hope you enjoy reflecting on faith and being challenged by God with me this Lent

£1 Chicken

Living life right in the city, love this place tho times be gritty.
So many crims, too many victim.
Too many shops sellin one pound chicken.

Bradford city, Bradford grime.
Walking streets means spending time, with all people many equal
Many lost brothers with an urban shine

Shine be shady lost lights for days, walking through the valley of a permanent haze.
Clouds drifting from suits really smell like tango.
Different sweet smell from the hoods and mans though

Lambo engine screaming after dark, racin through the city past city park.
Young soldier feelin it, fearless in rage.
Tomorrow’s lost soul, T&A front page

Problem shared be a problem split, problem child might end up slit.
Hand to arm wrist open out so to rest laid,
Another father gone repeat to fade, repeat to fade

Or take the pain out with chems and beer.
Sink another cheap whisky bottle here.
Or if that buzz don’t hop, Pay a visit to another magic phone shop

Hear the pain take it in so feelin it,
Pray to God that He might be healin it.
See the good in brothers light on be flickin
But there’s still too many shops selling one pound chicken

Waitrose Weekend

St Arnold’s was featured in the Waitrose Weekend magazine this week…

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You can pick up a copy in their stores or download their app

It does seem to have created some interest and quite a few questions!

If you’d like to know more please follow me on twitter @starnolds or email me at starnoldsbradford@gmail.com

Thanks!

The Story of Light Christingle

img_2233This year during December I’d like to invite you to pray for a little light in our city.

During advent we’ll be handing out LED tea lights in all of our churches and at various bars and cafes in the city centre. We hope that all these little lights will become a focus for prayer and positive thoughts as we journey together towards Christmas.

These tea lights also come with an invitation a special ‘Story of Light Christingle service at 3pm on Christmas Eve in the City centre (venue to be confirmed) *Now Confirmed that we’ll holding the service in the spectacular Wild Woods! (Old M&S Darley Street)*

Everyone, all ages, all faiths and none will be warmly welcomed to join us as we make Christingles and receive donations in support of the Children’s Society.

After a 30 minute service we’ll make our way down to the mirror pool and stretch out our lights around it’s perimeter, adding our lights to the lights of the city.

Then, for those who’d like to join us, it’s off to the Made of Bradford bar on Ivegate for refreshments and carols around the Christmas tree!

After that the party and carols will continue into the night!

I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to join with you all!

It’s going to be spectacular!

Golden leaf

A golden leaf hanging high on an autumn tree.

Clinging there though its life is nearly spent.

We can see beauty in it still, though now it is time to fall.

It clings in hope, holding to what is spent and gone.

In days, in hours, in seconds it will fall.

Down to the paths of the world to be walked over and returned to the earth once more.

In days, in hours, in seconds it will be as though it never existed.

Let go golden leaf.

Let life begin once more.

Autumn, for me, is a time of storing up and letting go. Harvest helps us to concentrate on storing up the good gifts of God, while the changing seasons remind us that there are some things that need to die to make way for new life.