Saturday, 13 December 2008


The X Factor final has just reached its conclusion for another year, and a star is born... Well done Alexandra!

But the star over the next week will be the single that Simon Cowell wants you to buy to make it number one - Hallelujah, originally by Jeff Buckley [note: oops, just discovered it's a Leonard Cohen song]. It's a song I've heard many times before, I suppose popularised through (of all things) an animated movie about an ogre.

But tonight I had a moment of grace. JLS and Alexandra sang the words,

"But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah"

The words spoke to me of the weak Christ on the cross - God's rescue mission to the World, doing something entirely unpredictable and stunning, winning and wooing us. Jesus didn't summon an army and beat us into submission; he lived and died a life of love to call us voluntarily into relationship with him.

And then comes,

"But remember when I moved in you
and the Holy Dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was hallelujah"

Tomorrow I'll be preaching on Psalm 126, which sings of the great things God has done in the past, but today being in a place of tears. A place where we remember the closest of relationships - humans and the Creator of the Universe walking together; but today feeling cold and dry.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Slip of the Tongue

Gordon Brown made a mistake during Prime Minister's Questions today. And David Cameron made as much out of it as possible. See what I'm talking about here.

It caught my attention to the point where I sent an e-mail to David Cameron. Here it is:
Dear Mr. Cameron,

While the Prime Minister today made a slip of the tongue with regard to saving the banking system in the UK, your witty response had, to my mind, a little too much sarcasm contained within.

You said, "He is so busy talking about saving the world, he has forgotten about the businesses of this country."

I would contend that one of your main roles, should you become Prime Minister, will be to play our part in saving the World. Certainly our country has many problems and will face a very tough period shortly, but it is nothing in comparison to the trials currently being faced by the people of Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel, Malawi, Argentina and many other nations.

Mr. Brown's remarks were indeed an amusing gaffe today, and I appreciated the banter between members of the House. But please, in looking out for the disadvantaged in the United Kingdom, remember the poorest of the poor around the World.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Ross Harte.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Two-Year-Old Nativity

I was just driving Timothy home from the last night of our town-wide Alpha Course finale. He'd had a great time running around at the back of the room but was gradually becoming just a little tooo distracting :)

As we started to pull out of the car park he said (in his best almost-two vocabulary), "Church. Lord. Jesus. Born."

At least someone understands what this is all about.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Noticing the Grace

I've been inspired by these folks (via David's blog - see right) to be attentive to the notes of Grace displayed throughout Creation during this Advent season.

So let's begin - on my way home tonight I heard Coldplay's new single. The first verse is:
Just because I'm losing
Doesn't mean I'm lost;
Doesn't mean I'll stop;
Doesn't mean I will cross.
It prompted me to think of the people out there who have given up on Church - for one reason or another, valid or excuse, whatever it might be - who might think that they are losing their faith in Jesus. There is grace, there is hope, all is not lost, and God will not stop pursuing, wooing, calling.

I'd like our fellowships to be the sort of places where such people might feel able to come back and be embraced without judgment, to worship and pray warmly, from which to launch out in love.