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Showing posts from April, 2016

Sing it, sister!

I will worship (I will worship)
With all of my heart (with all of my heart)
I will praise You (I will praise You)
With all of my strength (all my strength)  I will seek You (I will seek You)
All of my days (all of my days)
And I will follow (I will follow)
All of Your ways (all Your ways)... David Ruis, Maranatha Praise, Inc., 1991 For the uninitiated, this here's a song that the medium-to-considerably happy-clappy sing in church. And in case you're wondering, the bits in brackets are an echo 'traditionally' sung by the female members of the congregation. The pattern is not ubiquitous, but neither is it rare (and never, to my knowledge, is it inverted).

The other day, I had the rare joy of standing next to my sister in church, and I noticed that she was singing, not the 'response', as prescribed, but the 'call'. In a momentary pang of vicarious embarrassment I nearly nudged her – much as I would intervene if she was accidentally heading for the 'ge…

Antiphon (a sonnet)

A revised version [1] of a sonnet which originally appeared on the Sophia Network blog in February 2016:


“No” for a thousand tongues resounds unheard
As men in every corner wield might
And will, surmising that the sum gives right,
Against the impotence of Tamar's word.
The image jointly borne is two-ways marred:
A brutal face to face a veil of fright,
As “love” dissatisfied engenders hate,
Faith fails, and hope seems hopelessly deferred.

But One of strength eclipsing any man's
Waits for a yes and, with Mary’s consent,
Conceives to turn the tables, overthrow
The proud and raise the powerless with hands
Outstretched; a Word within a womb, intent
On answering each disregarded no. Carolyn Whitnall, 2015/2019.

It happened that I spent much of December 2015 grappling in new ways with Luke's Annunciation account. I'd not long since been reading 2 Samuel, and the story of Tamar's rape by her brother Amnon had resonated painfully with a slowly dawning realisation …