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Sermon, 19 March 2017, St Paul’s Cambridge

St Paul’s, Cambridge – 19th March 2017

 

Reading – Luke 4:14-30

 

Thanks for inviting me – St. Paul’s has been a great support to Amos and it’s good to look back with thanks over 30 years since the founding of Amos.

It makes me think, what is Amos’ manifesto – what is our foundation?  Amos started in a practical way to enable me to visit places like Poland in the communist years; Mathari Valley, Kenya; Uganda – and I would come back and tell the stories to churches, colleges, anywhere that asked.

After a time of developing friendships the Amos Trustees decided to make an ongoing link with some of the places and to work with them as partners – supporting small projects. Those relationships proved to be very important and have helped to guide the development of Amos over the last 30 years.

 

But what has been the Amos manifesto and the guiding principles – there are certain passages of the Bible we particularly turn to.

Read more…

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Every Grain of Sand

by Bob Dylan

 

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There’s a dying voice within me reaching out somewhere
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

 

Don’t have the inclination to look back on any mistake
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break
In the fury of the moment I can see the master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

 

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

 

I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

 

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer’s dream, in the chill of a wintry light
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

 

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other time it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

 

Bob Dylan

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Amos Trust at 30 years

It’s been a thirty year pilgrimage with Amos Trust, initially enabling me to visit situations around the world where I was invited, and then go back writing songs and telling stories – and that continues.

 

But it has been a pilgrimage of evolution for Amos – the next significant step was saying we will support partners around the world, and we found this meant that we learned even more from those partners. Read more…

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Peace at Christmas

Let peace come down this Christmas                

Upon a broken land                                                 

Let peace come down this Christmas time –      

And lets all take a stand                                        

 

Angel voices singing

On that Holy night                                              

To lead us out of darkness                                

Into the path of light – the path of light

Garth Hewitt

 

MP Mhairi Black, posting on Twitter on the night when UK MPs voted for war in Syria – “Very dark night in parliament. Will never forget the noise of some Labour and Tory cheering together at the idea of bombs falling.”

 

This will not be our finest hour: the dangerous rhetoric of war

Jill Segger December 7, 2015 – original article in Ekklesia Daily Bulletin here

 

We have to hope that committing a country’s armed forces to acts of war is one of the hardest decisions a politician ever has to make and one which makes the greatest demand on conscience. But observation makes it hard to rid oneself of a suspicion that many senior politicians have a not-so-secret desire to play the role of war leader.

 

Remember Margaret Thatcher in headscarf and goggles posing in the turret of a tank during the Falklands war? Tony Blair striving to look blokish and casual against a backdrop of bored-looking soldiers in Iraq? George Bush on the flightdeck of an aircraft carrier, sporting a USAF bomber jacket? And on Saturday (5 December), we saw the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon at RAF Akrotiri with a fighter plane in soft-focus behind him, unable to suppress a smirk as he proclaimed: “We will hit them harder”. Read more…

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One of the most refreshing things I’ve heard in ages!

Nice review of Something for the Soul published recently in Cross Rhythms:

Resisting the temptation to wax lyrical about Hewitt being an elder of the Christian music scene, realising some 40 albums and so on, just to say that this is one of the most refreshing things I’ve heard in ages; a tonic for the soul.

Reminiscent of early-Larry Norman and Bob Dylan in the ascendancy, this is quality roots music with intelligent, gospel-focused sentiment all spiced with honesty, humour and dare I say it, soul.

Sonically, it breaks little new ground, but you get the feeling that all those involved with the recording had such a blast, there in the studios in Bury St Edmonds. Hewitt is now a seasoned guitarist and singer-songwriter and is accompanied by an impressive selection of Christian musicians, including Beth Rowley, Pete Banks (of After The Fire) and Paul McDowell, accordionist of The Famous Potatoes and sometimes ‘Prof’ – when performing alongside poet Paul Cookson.

The musicianship is equalled by the quality of the songs, a rich variety of spirituals, protest-songs and anthems. It is difficult to choose a standout, as “No Injustice Will Last Forever”, “Wide Open Arms” and the title-track all jockey, but if I had to pick one, my recommendation is, “Tell ’em About The Dream Martin”, a reflection on Luther King’s famous speech and how the key section of it may never have been uttered, had the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson not shouted to him from nearby.

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Methodist Recorder’s review of Something for the Soul

Before Father Christmas there was a singer by the name of Garth Hewitt, or so it might seem.  Few artists from the early days, in what was loosely termed the “Jesus Music Domain” remain.  So just take this – Hewitt released his first album in 1973, “The Lion and the Lamb”.

 

Read the rest of this review by Tony Jasper here – SFTS Review Methodist Recorder

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