A Jubilee to remember

A Jubilee to remember

A Jubilee to remember

How neatly Dickens’ opening sentences of A Tale of Two Cities fit today’s scene.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I know many heads will nod and a few eyes will become a little moist reading this. They certainly did at the 10Dec17 Service-Concert in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Heart-touching beauty combined with tender supplication and a manifestation of real fellowship. Rare to find something so moving yet so cheering. Useful to be reminded that as robots we would not know what it was all about.

We owe Peter Low and the Choir of the Risen Christ a great deal.

They give us a rousing Christmas Concert-Service every year, and every year it is fresh. They retain the best of the format but introduce new touches to keep us on our toes. They give us a glimpse of the future and remind us of the best of the past. They make even those who profess no faith think again about the role of belief in an unbelieving world.

As always the highlight of the evening was the Ambassadors and Chargés placing their country’s offering on the symbolic Christmas Tree while the choir sang a carol from their country. To see representatives of Muslim countries taking part in an act of friendship in a Catholic Church gives a hope for humanity too seldom seen today. Hope, too, to for the church to see it being truly catholic – with a small ‘c’. Our religions must become universal.

This year we got some lovely new carols. They had all the grace of the old carols but there was a new spring in their step. If you want to reach people play a piece of music from their country and acknowledge them while you are doing so. Peter Low has this down to a fine art. For a choir to memorise forty different languages is a considerable feat at any time. In addition, the logistics of masterminding nearly 1,000 people + a huge choir + some very small children were a model for any organiser. A wonderful lesson in it’s own right.

So thank you Peter, Linda, Lorraine and all the choir members and the many support team members for a truly memorable evening, for a Christmas treat to remember, for the sound of angels and the music of great men and women. Thank you for the Harold Darke version of ‘In the bleak mid-winter’. It stirs the feelings like no other song can. Thank you for introducing us to new carols. Thank you for your professionalism and for your reaching out to the poor.

To be so loved by music and so touched by friendship means only one thing.

It was the best of times.