This week I’m doing the early morning Daily Thought on BBC Radio Solent’s breakfast show, hosted by Julian Clegg. Each day from Tuesday to Friday at about 6.50am I get 90 seconds to catch the listeners’ attention. Here are the first two.
Music in heaven (Tuesday morning)
It began to dawn on me recently that I really am getting old. Our oldest grandchild had a party for his 13th birthday and my job was to be the bouncer – not so much keeping people out as making sure that his friends were safely inside the hall.
Everything was fine and the evening was a great success. The pizzas went down well, the volume level was constantly at 11 and the music … well, the music was just unknown.
I used to pride myself on knowing my music. I’m still pretty handy with the Solent Secret Sound and do OK in music rounds if we’re at a quiz night … but I only knew two tunes during the entire evening and sadly, one of those was Gangnam Style.
It made me wonder about the music in heaven.
After all, the parade of composers and instrumentalists we have lost just in the last couple of years would give us an event to rival the greatest festival and it would go on for days. Just imagine Beethoven and Bowie comparing notes before going on stage with John Lennon and Nat King Cole.
I’m pretty sure God loves good music and I’m confident too that God doesn’t make the distinction we do between sacred and secular.
The oldest recorded book of songs is the Psalms. In Psalm 96 it says:
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
It’s a call to lift up your voice and sing – whatever is in your heart. That’s a good way to start the day. Just sing. Have a great day as part of the heavenly choir.
Missing out and why you shouldn’t (Wednesday morning)
For a number of years before becoming a church minister I worked in newspapers and spent some time as a sports writer in East London.
I used to talk to decathlon hero Daley Thompson every week at the point when he was winning Olympic and World titles. In the summer of 1978 I predicted in the paper that he would win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Canada and then went on holiday to Cornwall.
We stayed up into the early hours of the morning to watch Daley in action on a TV with dreadful reception – it was long before satellite TV – and saw through the fuzzy lines the prediction come true. The next day I read in the paper how Daley, as calm as ever, had received his gold medal, made a phone call and then spent the afternoon reading a book.
When I got back to work after the holiday my editor called me across and said: “You had a phone call while you were away. Daley Thompson rang from Canada with the exclusive story about his gold medal win but wouldn’t talk to anyone else.” I’d missed the biggest story of my career!
Now when Jesus was on the earth, he frequently reminded people that there was an opportunity they didn’t want to miss. The line he used was that the Kingdom of God was near at hand: the opportunity to live in a close relationship with God every day.
As a church leader, I’m glad that’s not an exclusive thing, but available to everyone. Knowing God’s presence in my life has helped me cope with difficulties and not get carried away when things go well.
Mind you, it doesn’t mean I remember everything – I need a diary for that!