By the throat

To get to Tayport from Blogstead, you hurdle the Sidlaw Hills, cross the Tay Bridge and turn left.  It’s rather a place apart and that’s its charm – you wouldn’t go there unless you were going there so it has that slightly ‘secret’ feel.  We have a small and faithful congregation there – they are remarkable for many things but most of all because they demolished their church hall and built a nice, new, small, well-heated, welcoming, brightly lit and paid-for hall.  In other words, they had faith in their future.  I am for ever suggesting to people they should go and look at it.

This evening we went to hear Bach’s St John Passion in the Concert Hall in Perth.  Unfortunately I can’t give credit where credit is due because they ran out of programmes.  I could tell you who most of the audience were because they seemed to be mainly members of the SEC.  It was a good performance – great evangelist in particular.  But I found my mind going back to the quite outstanding performance last year by Mark Padmore.  When he reached ‘Peter went out and wept bitterly,’ I gripped the arms of my seat because he produced a simply terrifying sound which seemed to contain all the anguish of lost humanity.

And I thought a bit about our worship – and what it takes to create worship which does take you by the throat – which rises above the pedestrian.  Obviously you can’t expect it to do that every Sunday morning.  But just now and again, perhaps?  Seems to me its a combination of passion with an aspiration to rise, literally, above the mundane.  And, as I listened to the music tonight, it seemed to me to be also about creating pools of space and silence, about varying pace, about how what is soft speaks louder than what is merely noisy.  I noticed tonight that I sometimes felt the emotion of the moment in the space that followed it – not at the moment itself.  Strange that.  Let’s not go there.

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