From the category archives:

Faith Stuff

Hymn of the day

by Richard on March 15, 2015

Come away to the skies, my belovèd, arise
And rejoice in the day thou wast born;
On this festival day, come exulting away,
And with singing to Zion return.
We have laid up our love and our treasure above,
Though our bodies continue below.
The redeemed of the Lord will remember His Word,
And with singing to paradise go.
Now with singing and [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on March 1, 2015

O GOD, what offering shall I give
To thee, the Lord of earth and skies?
My spirit, soul, and flesh receive,
A holy, living sacrifice;
Small as it is, ’tis all my store;
More shouldst thou have, if I had more.
Now then, my God, thou hast my soul,
No longer mine, but thine I am;
Guard thou thine own, possess it whole,
Cheer [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on January 25, 2015

O THOU, whom once they flock’d to hear,
Thy words to hear, thy power to feel;
Suffer the sinners to draw near,
And graciously receive us still.
They that be whole, thyself hast said,
No need of a physician have;
But I am sick, and want thine aid,
And want thine utmost power to save.
Thy power, and truth, and love divine,
The same [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on January 18, 2015

WEARY of all this wordy strife,
These notions, forms, and modes, and names,
To Thee, the Way, the Truth, the Life,
Whose love my simple heart inflames,
Divinely taught, at last I fly,
With Thee, and Thine to live, and die.
Forth from the midst of Babel brought,
Parties and sects I cast behind;
Enlarged my heart, [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on January 11, 2015

THOU hidden source of calm repose,
Thou all-sufficient Love Divine,
My help and refuge from my foes,
Secure I am, if thou art mine;
And lo! from sin, and grief; and shame,
I hide me, Jesus, in thy name.
Thy mighty name salvation is,
And keeps my happy soul above;
Comfort it brings, and power, and peace,
And joy, and everlasting love;
To me, with [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on January 4, 2015

Come, let us use the grace divine,
and all with one accord,
In a perpetual covenant join
ourselves to Christ the Lord;
Give up ourselves, through Jesus’ power,
His Name to glorify;
And promise, in this sacred hour,
for God to live and die.
The covenant we this moment make
be ever kept in mind;
We will no more our God forsake,
or cast these words [...]

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Another Christmas hymn

by Richard on December 29, 2014

Continuing with a look at some of Charles Wesley’s nativity hymns…
O mercy divine,
How could’st thou incline
My God to become such an infant as mine?
What a wonder of grace!
The ancient of days
Is found in the likeness of Adam’s frail race.
[...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 28, 2014

Stupendous height of heavenly love,
Of pitying tenderness divine!
It brought the Saviour from above,
It caused the springing day to shine;
The Sun of righteousness to appear,
And gild our gloomy hemisphere.
God did in Christ himself reveal,
To chase our darkness by his light,
Our sin and ignorance dispel,
Direct our wandering feet aright,
And bring our souls, with pardon blest,
To realms of [...]

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More from Charles Wesley on the Nativity

by Richard on December 27, 2014

O astonishing grace,
That the reprobate race
Should be so reconciled!
What a wonder of wonders that God is a child!
[...]

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A matter of perspective

by Richard on December 26, 2014

Reblogged from 10 years ago
I thought I might write a cheery reflection on my Christmas which has, it has to be said, been a prety good one. But somehow that doesn’t seem quite appropriate, with the news that the deathtoll from the earthquake is now known to be well over 20 000. How do you [...]

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Another Wesleyan Carol

by Richard on December 26, 2014

GLORY be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend!
God comes down, and bows the sky,
And shows himself our friend!
God the invisible appears;
God, the blest, the great I AM,
Sojourns in this vale of tears,
And Jesus is his name.
Him the angels all adored,
Their Maker and their King.
Tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring.
Emptied of [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!
Away with our fears!
The Godhead appears
In Christ reconciled,
The Father of Mercies in Jesus the Child.
He comes from above,
[...]

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A Wesleyan carol

by Richard on December 24, 2014

Although it was not until the Victorian period that the modern Christmas celebration was invented, Charles Wesley’s volume Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord went through 26 editions in his own lifetime. Where the Victorians would give us a sentimental vision of the baby in a manger, Wesley focusses on the mystery and paradox [...]

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Christmas expectations

by Richard on December 24, 2014

Expectations are hard things to live with. In a culture increasingly driven by “targets”, the expectations we have of ourselves and others can be a source of great hurt and confusion. This is especially true when our expectations do not match those of others. And it has to be said that there are many times [...]

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More thoughts on the Nativity stories

by Richard on December 23, 2014

If the Nativity stories are intended to tell us about Jesus, what do they say? Let’s remind ourselves of the “plot” first: In Matthew we begin apparently in Bethlehem. The angel appears in a dream to Joseph. Jesus is born. The visitors from the east follow a star. The flight to Egypt. The slaughter of [...]

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The purpose of the Nativity stories

by Richard on December 23, 2014

As I’ve said before, I love school nativity plays. But I worry about the way that some (most?) Christians treat the stories, as though if anyone asks if the events were not exactly as they’re portrayed in the school play that somehow the integrity and truth of the Bible is being questioned. “Biblical criticism” [...]

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The magic of Christmas

by Richard on December 21, 2014

Many Christians are apt to be just a little bit churlish when it comes to Christmas. I sometimes get a sense that Christians are resentful that “our” festival has been stolen, taken over by revellers who are happy to sing carols and watch a school nativity play but will give little or no thought to [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 21, 2014

Lo! He lays his glory by,
Emptied of his majesty!
See the God who all things made,
Humbly in a manger laid.
Cast we off our needless fear,
Boldly to his crib draw near;
Jesus is our flesh and bone,
God-with-us is all our own.
Will his majesty disdain
The poor shepherd’s simple strain?
No; for Israel’s shepherd, he
Loves their artless melody.
He will not refuse [...]

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Post-mortem baptism: a hypothetical question

by Richard on October 22, 2014

“One night, you’re in the sleep room; it’s 2am, and you get an urgent page to the intensive care nursery. Not knowing what to expect, you hurry to get up to the unit on the 12th floor. When you step out of the elevator, a nurse quickly points you to the last room at the [...]

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On science, maths and faith

by Richard on October 12, 2014

John Wesley was convinced that should he study mathematics to any depth he’d become an atheist. If he had taken that journey, I venture to suggest he would have discovered that he was wrong. I’m not any kind of mathematician — I pretty much crashed and burned in my university maths classes — though I [...]

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