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At the End of the Day… 13 January 2011

Posted by Dr Moose in Church, Faith, Recommendations, University.
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… this being as good a time as any to reflect, and then stop.

A CD review, of sorts. Yesterday, being a Wednesday, was my day off, and ended especially well. Not only did I get to eat Indian for the second night in a row, this time with friends old and new in Market Harborough, nor simply a fast, rather exhilarating drive along enjoyable roads to get there and back, but also to the accompaniment of a new CD. Just before Christmas, out of the blue and on the recommendation of a Facebook friend I’ve only met once, but “spoken” with quite often, I treated myself to no less than three CDs, taken from his Top Ten. I have not been disappointed, although the one he rated most highly is, ironically, still growing on me, while the other two made immediate and overwhelmingly favourable impressions.

Last night was the turn of Therion’s Sitra Ahra. I’d never heard of them, but the description Tim posted, in short “choral metal”, was enough to intrigue me. I was not disappointed! The best description would be “flippin’ mental” or at least, (monu)mental!

My breadth of music and bands probably isn’t wide enough to do it justice, but I’ll try. At the outset I have to say that the scale of the music is frankly epic, and needs to be played loud, and for it’s own sake. The nature of the lyrics that I read wouldn’t lend them many friends among some of my more fundamentalist co-religionists…. but I doubt that they’d bother to listen!

As I listened, in rough order of appearance, there were echoes of Rick Wakeman and the English Rock Ensemble, The Phantom of the Opera, Iron Maiden (if my memory serves me well, it’s been a long time!),  Garbage, Parisian 1930s cafe jazz/gypsy violin, and, if I’m not mistaken, Rammstein. Often with at least two genres intermixed. As I said, mental, melodramatic and exuberant, but great fun … and I enjoyed every minute of it. And probably nothing like you might expect of a vicar. (I don’t think it will be played in the house, certainly not if anyone’s in, but fantastic fun).

And, what might be termed, perhaps, as a Life Review, as something of my past caught up, most pleasantly, with me today.

One of the good reasons for coming here to East Midlands University Town was the relative proximity of my former curacy parish in the neighbouring county, one Oadby. It was a good and on the whole enjoyable time.

This lunchtime was one of my twice monthly Holy Communions in the University Chaplaincy, and with 5 minutes to go it looked like no-one would show, leaving me some space for prayer and thinking. I’d just popped into the office to get something I’d forgotten, and returned to find an unfamiliar student waiting for the service. The usual pleasantries ensued. Names were exchanged, the fact that he was commuting to study, from a small village in the adjoining county that he didn’t name. It then turned out that I knew the village, and of the church. This reminded me of someone who’d previously lived and worshipped there before moving into Oadby to set up a church on the up-market new housing estate there.

You can tell where this is going can’t you? The student’s family had come to faith as a result of the work of that church plant, which was associated with the church in which I was curate, and at which I had preached and worshipped on occasion. His grandmother, known to me by name, and hopefully remembering me, still worshipped in one of the churches in the team in which I’d been curate.

Not a complete impossibility certainly, but still a most pleasant surprise. It’s distinctly possible we have actually met before, some 8-10 years ago. I have to admit that it leaves the day with a good shine to it.

So maybe a verse from a much-loved, if over-used hymn, might be the best thought to end upon (before I slump over the keyboard!)

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

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