Review in Methodist Recorder, 9th December 2022
by Tony Jasper
“I flock through material that has been carried in this paper during 2022 and realise that to some extent I have spent much time exploring the classics, songs and artist catalogue. The exception to this rests in the continuing issue or worship material and then, thankfully, every now and then, well, he comes, he’s the exception, he does his own thing, releases his own recordings, knows how to write a good song, is adept at using vocal back-ups and well, he pens material that can be sung by an audience.
This man is Garth Hewitt. Google terms him a ‘troubadour, singer, songwriter, spiritual songs UK’. And more. His CD list is considerable and often it reflects his abiding concerns with Palestine and its oppression. His most unexpected and one treasured by many is Liberty is Near! in which he sings from the extraordinary ‘The National Chartist Hymnbook 1845.’
Garth is an exceptional faith writer and performer and if you have the opportunity book him for your church*. No sugar with Garth, no sugary winsome material, just gutsy and often fiery material, radical faith and rooted in Jesus’ teaching. It seems he is the last of recent years from the surfeit of faith recordings and who is still there!”
It is a revolution of peacemaking, of following Jesus the peacemaker. It is a revolution that rejects violence as a solution, rejects greed, and embraces justice for all, sharing with all and welcoming the forgotten. It is a rejection of past ways of mistreating people and is a call for equality. It also recognises the responsibility for the care of the planet. It is a revolution of hope.
The Book – Here Garth has woven together art, wisdom and challenge from a selection of poets, painters, writers and prophets.Thirty-two colour pages include all the lyrics from the Easter Revolution album, some further thoughts of Garth on the subject of Easter, and much more – click here to find out who else’s thoughts Garth has included, and to order your copy
What have they done to the “Little Town”?
Imprisoned it in a concrete wall
Bethlehem – once a holy city
Trapped inside a ghetto wall.
Here where angels sang of peace
Where love and hope were born anew
Once surrounded by a heavenly host
Now surrounded by a concrete view.
Yet people crushed and hidden away
Still celebrate on Christmas Eve
Lighting candles for the child –
They still remember – still believe.
So light a candle this Holy Night
For Bethlehem and Beit Sahour
And for all the people caught inside
That cold and grey prison wall
Longing for a world of peace
Where all are treated equally
Where all can recognise their worth
Where all can live with dignity –
Where all can join hands with neighbours
Whether Muslim, Christian or Jew
And find a way to live together
Making Holy dreams
Making Holy dreams come true.
O God, just and loving,
May we find a way to speak up
for those who are being brutalised,
ignored or forgotten.
May we be those who speak up for refugees,
May we be those who speak up for the oppressed in Palestine
May we bring support where we can and may we never be silent.
Love is never silent and justice is never silent –
May we find ways to speak up
Especially when our sisters and brothers are asking for our solidarity –
with our voices telling the story.
May we echo the Palestinian Christian “Cry for hope”
And stand against injustice and apartheid –
And stand against the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
May we show the love and justice of Jesus
And find ways for our voices to tell the story.
And may the God who dances in creation
Who embraces us with human love
Who shakes our lives like thunder
Bless us and drive us out with power
To fill the world with her justice.
The final paragraph is a blessing from St Hilda’s Community
Song for Easter
Jesus of the Scars
If we have never sought, we seek you now;
Your eyes burn through the dark our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-marks on your brow,
We must have you, O Jesus of the scars.
The heavens frighten us, they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by your scars we know your grace
O Jesus of the scars we seek you now
O Jesus of the scars we seek you now
We must have sight of the thorn-marks on your brow
We must have you, O Jesus of the scars
The other gods were strong but you were weak;
They rode, but you did stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds but you alone.
music by Garth Hewitt
poem by Edward Shillito, written at the end of the First World War
Prayer for Easter
O God, whether in India, Greece or Bethlehem
Or anywhere else in our global village
Lead us through the wilderness of worry, despair,
Illness, sorrow and suffering
And lead our wounded world to the resurrection of hope.
May we all learn from this world wide virus
That we are all in this together.
So no more violence and war,
No more greed and selfishness –
It is time to support one another
And genuinely love our neighbour as ourself.