Chinese New Year, and Continuity and Discontinuity in Biblical Theology

Chinese New Year passed with the usual surfeit of steamboats and lo heis and barbecues and restaurant feasts and CNY tidbits.

homemade pineapple tarts with melty crusts and Anzac biccies with bak-kwaWas glad to get back to merely nibbling on a colleague’s homemade pineapple tarts and some Anzac biccies (because of Australia Day) studded with bak-kwa, instead of being pressed, on pain of seeming discourteous, to sample a plenitude of snack jars as we visited friends over the holidays.

Double-treat Tuesday -

Ecstatic too to be back to smoothie bowls for breakfast and to be cracking on with the second volume of “Justification and Variegated Nomism“. Nom nom.

The lecturers at the Cornhill Training Course used to be adamant that every single passage of the OT should point to Christ, citing Luke 24:27. I thought this an unwieldy sledgehammer that resulted in all sorts of dodgy exegesis. Yet, I also thought that the insistence of some folk at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate on holding tightly the tension of the biblical narrative (and so being very hesitant in going to Christ), while dealing quite well with an OT passage’s position on the salvation-historical timeline, did not adequately take into account our position on that same timeline.

How then to read, teach, and preach the OT now? Could some part of the answer depend on one’s conclusion on the continuity and discontinuity between the testaments?

  • What should we, who live on the other side of the cross/resurrection/ascension, make of the Old Testament ?
  • Which laws should we follow and which ones should we ditch?
  • What about infant baptism (as continuity from saved-as-a-household x circumcision)(see eg. pg 3 of Themelios April 2016)? What about keeping the Sabbath (on Saturdays)?
  • What is the biblical warrant for any of that?

 This didn’t make it as one of my Heresies of the Month back in London. But since it will be a lifelong task to comprehensively consider the continuity and discontinuity between the OT and NT, let’s get this party started.

dragonfruit smoothie bowl with Korean strawberries and Chilean blueberries

 I do not think the usual tripartite division of the law into moral, civil, ceremonial laws works well:

  • they are not biblical categories – no Bible writer thought in those categories
  • therefore, they impose an alien framework on the text

The first port of call, perhaps, would be a careful reading of how NT writers treat the OT.

D.A. Carson, in “Mystery and Fulfillment: Toward a More Comprehensive Paradigm of Paul’s Understanding of the Old and the New” (p393, Justification and Variegated Nomism), concludes that for Paul, this is a “both-and”. That is,

“Paul thinks of the gospel he preaches a simultaneously something that has been predicted in times past, with those predictions now fulfilled, and something that has been hidden in times past, and now revealed.

…there is no evidence that Paul himself was aware of any tension between these two stances…the two stances…genuinely lock together…

…Paul assess the significance of Israel and the Sinai covenant within the larger biblical narrative…the law’s most important function is to bring Israel, across time, to Christ…

…the Old Testament, rightly read in its salvation-historical structure, led to Christ…

…the law is upheld precisely in that to which it points…”

Yet, Carson is insistent that we need to see too “how radically Christocentric Paul’s reading of the Old Testament really is…”

Andy Naselli’s done a good summary here.

cast-iron shashuka - tomatoes, chickpeas, bayleaves, cabanossi, eggsa quick shashuka lunch straight from the hot cast-iron pan

Right. So are there any general principles that one can draw on what continues and what doesn’t, and can this be applied to any OT text faithfully?

Akan datang.

Chinese Lunar New Year Reunion Steamboat Dinner

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Valē, Mike Ovey.

Valē, Mike Ovey

The Facebook newsfeed is awash with shock and sadness. Mike Ovey is dead at 58 from a heart attack.

We shall miss his:

  • sharp thinking about theology:

Why bother with systematic theology?
Putting contextualisation in context
The gospel “how” of theological education
The gospel “what” of theological education
The grace of God or the world of the West?

  • astute theology:

The Person of Christ
Eternal subordination of the Son

The Son incarnate in a hostile world
Complementarianism and homoianism
Gender and sexuality

Valē, Mike Ovey

  • incisive commentary on contemporary issues:

Certainty
Looters: them or us?
Killing cultures or saving from superstition?
How do we get the leaders we don’t deserve?
Malfunctioning Democracies?

  • deep thinking about the church, and interaction between Christians and the world:

Evangelical Liberalism in the UK
Is the Reformation over?
Courtier politicians and courtier preachers

Rev'd Dr. Mike Ovey from Lawyers Christian Fellowship on Vimeo.

Law and Gospel in the public square


Gender and free speech

  • absurd and unexpected pop culture references while communicating profound truths, and the timing of a stand-up comic

Valē, Mike OveyM1 and M2.

But most of all, we shall miss his deep humility and pastoral nature and genuine love and care for people. Many Christian leaders and teachers are clever and quirky; but it is rare to find one much like his Master.

When circumstances…take our mentors from us:

Others:
Lee Gatiss’ “A Tribute to Mike Ovey (1958 – 2017)”
Duncan Forbes’ “A Tribute to Mike Ovey. We need more Mike Oveys”
Chris Stead’s “Will you let God disagree with you?
Graham Shearer’s “On ‘Learning in Time of War’
Moore Theological College’s obituary – “The Rev. Dr Mike Ovey
Daf Meirion-Jones’ “Mike Ovey: The Spiritual Surgeon
Dave Williams’ “What Mike Ovey taught me
Matthew Barrett’s “Best Possible Gift: The Legacy of Mike Ovey (1958 – 2017)
Co-Mission’s “A mighty brother has fallen: we salute his courage for Christ
Mark Tanner’s “The gift of a friend
Chris Green’s “Obituary: Revd. Dr. Michael J. Ovey, PhD MTh MA BCL BA, Principal at Oak Hill College

And Credo is doing a much better job of collating!

Happy Halloween at Woodgrove Estate, Woodlands, Singapore

I have happy (candy) memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. We canvassed neighbours in The Arcadia with our high-pitched half-hearted threats, then retreated to exchange our sweet haul.

Now, the festivities in Singapore have been ramped up at the American expat neighbourhood of Woodgrove Estate in Woodlands.

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

There are 6 main ways you can dress for the task:

  • scary
  • sexy
  • cute (anything furry, or see below*)
  • pop culture referencing (Superman, Spiderman, Ironman; a Pokemon; Harry Potter character; Sesame Street character)
  • dress-up trope (“Red Indian”, policeman, fireman, military personnel, pirate, witch, wizard)
  • nerdy (Minecraft character)

*But if you’re below the age of 2 years, you’ll end up in the third category, no matter how hard you try:

Little Halloween Witch Fairies. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

At Woodgrove, a housing agent was seizing the opportunity to dole out free orange balloons (with their name and contact details of course), fresh popcorn, pink candy floss. Little wizards, witches, ninja turtles, boys with knives through their heads were patiently queuing for these treats:

free popcorn. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

free popcorn. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Thus fortified, the hordes then continued on to open homes. At some, the owners or their children handed out the treats themselves. Other households had maids or even hired men doing the work while they sat and watched the proceedings:
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

a tub of sweets. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
bet you didn't see the pontianak until it was too late! Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore<
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

These were the best dressed hosts I thought – a man with his head in a box and his bloodied zombie bride:
man with his head in a box and his bloodied bride. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
The Woodgrove households have been kind and rather generous in inviting all and sundry to partake of the festivities. They probably wouldn’t want to lay down rules, but with the crowds almost reaching the thousands, a few pointers wouldn’t go amiss – because where the free stuff is, the Ugly Singaporean Person isn’t far behind:

  • dress up! Even if you’re there to chaperone a kid. I heard one frustrated host refuse to give candy to someone in t-shirt and shorts, saying,”At least try to make an effort!” Each individual makes up the crowd. Each person contributes to the fun atmosphere, so don’t just turn up in normal clothes. Rise to the occasion!
  • be polite! Greet each host (“Trick or Treat!” “Happy Halloween!”) and commend them on their costume or house decor. Say thank you. Don’t grab sweets from their tub unless they ask you to. It’s not a free-for-all buffet. Throw sweet wrappers and other rubbish in the many bins around.
  • give way! There were at least two people on wheelchairs who couldn’t seem to get through the crowds. Don’t be kiasu lah, just give way to them. There were lots of older kids lazing in prams though, which was a little unfortunate since they could walk. This led to a lot of people’s feet being run over and generally hampered traffic flow.

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Speaking of costumes, this fox was fantastic. Everyone simultaneously loved this kid and worried about him/her overheating in the Singapore heat:
Fantastic Mr. Fox. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Fantastic Mr. Fox. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

We don’t know if the Gryffindor troupe ever saw Snape hanging out with Professor McGonagall:
Gryffindor. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Professor McGonagall with Snape. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

I’m sure I saw you in a meme, horse-head and inflatable T-Rex:
horse. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
inflatable T-Rex. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Minecraft in pixelated glory (see instructions here). Boxy head also useful for containing the night’s haul:
Minecraft. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Minecraft head. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Cool people-riding-things costumes:

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

princess riding a unicorn. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
witch riding a dinosaur. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Other snapshots from a jaunt around the estate. Loads of fun!

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
lantern fish? Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Harley Quinn. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

But how can a Christian celebrate Halloween, someone might ask.

Well, of all people, a Christian can best celebrate Halloween with a light heart, without superstition or fear! In its Singaporean form, the dead are not honoured nor prayed for at Halloween, nor is Satan or any demon worshipped.

If anything, dressing up as pretend-scary people, or getting splattered with fake blood, or paying good money (for charity, of course) to enter a haunted house thumbs the nose at the powers of darkness and death.

Haunted House. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
skulls hanging from a frangipani tree. Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

A child of God isn’t afraid of the powers of darkness, because the Son of God has triumphed over them when he died on the cross. The prince of darkness, the Devil, has no hold over us.

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

15 He disarmed the [demonic] rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:20)

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

And though the Christian still dies, he/she does not approach death with morbid fear, because the Christian is assured that his/her Lord has gone before him/her. And will, on the Last Day defeat death, so that all who trust in Jesus will rise again to new and eternal life.

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”(1 Corinthians 15:24-27)

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore
Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

This does not mean that Christians dismiss the Devil as myth though. Rather, we understand that Satan works not in a sweaty sweet-hording festival but in every day life; in tempting us to sin against God and by encouraging us not to acknowledge God as God, or submit to his Son as Lord.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)

Halloween 2016 at Woodgrove, Woodlands, Singapore

A burial, on a normal sunny afternoon, just like any other

late breakfast of fried eggs and bacon, with smashed avocado on wholewheat toastI crawled out from under the bedcovers late today, aching, peering out at the hazy Singapore sky (thanks to forest fires in Indonesia), wondering what time it was. As I made breakfast/lunch/tea, the previous day came back to me.

**************

It was a normal sunny afternoon in Malacca, Malaysia. Just like any other. Along Jonker Street, tourists would have been queuing up for chicken rice balls or cooling off with a sweet chendol dribbled with gula melaka.

burial in Malacca, on a normal sunny afternoonBut we were here in the Malaccan countryside, by a narrow hole, in a graveyard.

The local Methodist pastor, who’d forgotten the deceased’s name twice already (it wasn’t really his fault – the deceased only turned up in church twice a year, at Christmas and Easter), was throwing white flowers into the grave.

As he threw the first white chrysanthemum he said, “You were made from the earth, and to the earth you shall return.”

Then,”Ashes to ashes.”

And finally,”Dust to dust.”

Family and friends threw flowers into the hole. When they were done, the workers who had been idling nearby, sipping water from plastic cups, moved concrete slabs over the hole and laid several wheelbarrows of cement over it.

His widow, who had become blind over the last few years, could only hear the scrape-scrape-scrape of the cement sealing in the decaying body of her husband in the tropical heat. She asked to be helped away.

Then the many wreaths were piled on.

Some of the younger mourners, who hadn’t known the deceased, were teasing each other by the grave (“hey, your boyfriend says he wants to break-up with you!”), and laughing, and talking about hatching eggs in Pokemon Go.

When all the wreaths had been piled on, we all left to go to lunch.

**************

Four days ago, life had been going on as usual. The deceased’s wife was holidaying with their daughter in the UK. And the deceased had gone for a golf game with some friends (“never said no to a round of golf”, nodded one of the mourners). On the way home from a trip like any other, the driver of the car lost control of the SUV. They smashed into a lorry, flipped over, and crashed roof-first onto the hard ground. Three people were “killed instantly”, the fourth was critically injured and didn’t know what’d happened as he’d fallen asleep in the back seat.

On hearing the tragic news, the rest of the family rushed back to the empty house, in utter shock and massive grief.

One day ago, my friend, the only son of the deceased, had given a eulogy. A very bold witness, he’d told those gathered that his father’s death was a warning that they must heed:

  • none of us knows when we will die
  • are we prepared for death and what will come after death?
  • if the Christian claim is true that we all live once and then face judgement, then we must all repent and trust in Jesus’ death to save us from that judgement, before it is too late!

The black-and-white photos before the casket had shown a dashing young man, with a bright smile and a full head of dark hair, in a sharp suit, with his arm proudly around his new wife (now widow), an equally fashionable young lady. Other photos recorded the births of a succession of children, then grandchildren. My friend’s father went on to lead a respectable life amongst the local people. A successful medical career behind him, he retired and was enjoying life without any major health complaints. “A nice man”, agreed the mourners. “Director of 6 companies, you know, to keep his mind active”. “Oh yes, and also director of a bank. It’s been in his family for ages!”

But he was unprepared for death. And then it was too late.

How inappropriate to warn people to repent at a funeral, my friend’s sister had berated him. But because death can come at anytime, there will never be a more appropriate time than now, than today.

Palm Sunday Songs for Sunday School

We’re working through later chapters of the Gospel of Luke in the lead up to Easter at Sunday School.

Here are the songs we’re doing for Palm Sunday – the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, with the crowds acknowledging him (for now) as king.

Welcome the King

Welcome the King, welcome the King
Welcome the King who comes
In the name of the Lord

Clear the road before him
Open the ancient doors
Let every heart receive him
Welcome the King
Who comes in the name of the Lord

Who is this King, who is this King
Who is this King who comes
In the name of the Lord

He is the King of glory
Crucified and risen
He is the Lord Almighty
Welcome the King
Who comes in the name of the Lord

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1996 Make Way Music

We sing Hosanna!
1. Zechariah said:
“Here comes your king,
Riding on a donkey,
Humble as anything.”We sing “Hosanna!”
Jesus is our King!
He’s riding on a donkey,
But He’s the Lord of everything,
The Son of David,
King of Kings!
2. All the city said:
“Who is this man?
Riding on a donkey,
What can be his plan?”

3. Chief priests said:
“What’s going on?
Riding on a donkey,
People singing songs?”

Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Singapore. And the Purpose of Romans.

Galette des rois, PAUL Bakery, Epiphany, Singapore

galette des rois from PAUL Bakery, Singapore (facebook)

On the twelfth night after Christmas, BL and I were discussing the big idea of Romans.

Quoting Christopher Ash’s Teaching Romans, BL thought the purpose of Paul’s letter to the Romans was (i) to motivate them to be his mission partners; and (ii) to motivate them to live in harmony with one another.

Puzzled, I thought that on a plain reading and without reference to commentaries, Paul’s intent seemed to be to preach the gospel to the Roman Christians. It wasn’t an evangelistic rally he had planned for Rome.

Why preach the gospel to those whose faith was already well-known throughout the world? To strengthen their faith. And faith is strengthened by being more sure of what one believes in. Paul wasn’t advocating any blind leap in the dark…”by no means!”…

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

fève in the galette des rois, Epiphany, Singapore
…instead, Paul demonstrates how glorious the gospel is: how necessary it is for both Jews and Gentiles; how this is the great revelation of the mystery that has been kept for generations; how the Jews and the law were part of God’s plan for the gospel all along; how the current sin of Christians far from obviates the legitimacy of the good news, etc.

And Christians, so gripped by the magnificence of the gospel, would exhibit the “obedience of faith” (both the obedient response that is faith, and the obedience that comes from faith).

It is terribly important, imho, to put the focus on where Paul puts his passionate emphases – not another attempt to drum up prayer and financial support for his gospel campaign nor a pep talk about church unity. Instead, he blows their minds with the sheer crazy glory of the gospel. That is what will keep them in times of difficulty; that is what will make them live rightly.

Can’t wait to get stuck into Romans at small groups this year.

Carols for the Ungodly

Advent in Asia.

Time for imported Norwegian and American pine trees to fill tropical spaces with heavy heady fragrance.

Time to imported mince pies from Australia and Great Britain, to be nibbled in the bright sunlight.
Big Sister (Australia) and Walkers (British) mince pies, Mandura English Breakfast

Time for those beautiful John Rutter carols to remind you that God gives sunlight and gifts to the godly and the ungodly.

A choral treat that slips down the throat like brandy butter eggnog, but could Stuart Townend please write us a good meaty theologically-correct Christmas dinner? The occasion of Jesus’ birth has so much more significance than the humble birth of a great teacher in a manger, or the lovely tenderness of a mother caring for her child.

It was a cosmic birth of the Creator of the entire universe becoming one of his own creatures; it was the coming that the entire world had been waiting for generations upon generations; it was a

For now though, Rutter’s carols for candlelight, angels, shepherd’s pipes, donkeys, stars, nativity…

Candlelight Carol


How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How do you measure the love of a mother
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Silent night, holy night, all is calm and all is bright
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep

Refrain

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day

Refrain

Angels’ Carol


Have you heard the sound of the angel voices ringing out so sweetly, ringing out so clear?
Have you seen the star shining out so brightly as a sign from God that Christ the Lord is here?
Have you heard the news that they bring from heaven to the humble shepherds who have waited long?

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo! Hear the angels sing their joyful song.

He is come in peace in the winter’s stillness, like a gentle snowfall in the gentle night.
He is come in joy, like the sun at morning, filling all the world with radiance and with light.
He is come in love as the child of Mary. In a simple stable we have seen his birth.

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo! Hear the angels singing ‘Peace on earth’.

He will bring new light to a world in darkness, like a bright star shining in the skies above.
He will bring new hope to the waiting nations, when he comes to reign in purity and love.
Let the earth rejoice at the Saviour’s coming. Let the heavens answer with a joyful morn:

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo! Hear the angels singing, ‘Christ is born’.

Shepherd’s Pipe Carol


Going through the hills on a night all starry
On the way to Bethlehem
Far away I heard a shepherd piping
On the way to Bethlehem

Angels in the sky brought this message nigh:
Dance and sing for joy that Christ the Newborn King is come to bring us peace on Earth and he’s lying cradled there at Bethlehem

Tell me shepherd boy piping tunes so merrily
On the way to Bethlehem
Who will hear your tunes on these hills so lonely
On the way to Bethlehem

None may hear my pipes on these hills so lonely
On the way to Bethlehem;
But a King will hear me play sweet lullabies
When I get to Bethlehem

Angels in the sky came down from on high
Hovered over the manger where the babe was laying
Cradled in the arms of his mother Mary
Sleeping now at Bethlehem

Where is this new King shepherd boy piping merrily
Is he there at Bethlehem
I will find him soon by the star shining brightly
In the sky over Bethlehem

May I come with you shepherd boy piping merrily
Come with you to Bethlehem
Pay my homage too at the new King’s cradle
Is it far to Bethlehem

Donkey Carol


Donkey riding over the bumpy road
Carry Mary holding her heavy load
Follow Joseph, leading you on your way
Until you find a stable, somewhere to rest and stay
Donkey riding over the bumpy road
Carry Mary
holding her heavy
holding her heavy
holding her heavy load

Donkey watching over The Jesus Child,
See The Baby, all with his mother mild!
Hear the Angels singing their song on high!
‘Noel! Noel! Noel! their caroling fills the sky!
Donkey watching over The Jesus Child,
See The Baby,
all with His mother
all with His mother
all with His mother mild

Donkey resting all in a manger stall,
With the oxen worship the Lord of all
Hush, He lies asleep on His bed of hay
While Mary sings so sweetly
‘Lulla, Lulla-lalay.’
Donkey resting all in a manger stall,
With the oxen
Worship The Lord
Worship The Lord
Worship The Lord of all

Donkey skip for joy as you go your way!
Alleluia, Jesus Is Born today!
Hark, The Bells Ring out with their message clear!
Rejoice and sing that
Christ our Savior Divine is here!
Donkey skip for joy as you go your way,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia
Christ is Born today!

Jesus Child


Have you heard the story that they’re telling ’bout Bethlehem,
Have you heard the story of the Jesus child?
How he came from heaven and was born in a manger bed?
Mary was his virgin mother pure and mild,

Sing alleluia, brothers, sing alleluia sisters worship the Jesus child and praise his mother mild,
Glory to God on high’ the angel hosts above are singing:
Listen to the story of the Jesus child.

Have you heard the story of the poor humble shepherd men,
Sitting on the hillside with their flocks at night?
Suddenly the angel tells them: hurry to Bethlehem,
Go and find the Jesus child, the world’s new light,

Refrain

Jesus child, lying at Bethlehem, sleeping safe at Mary’s knee,
Save my soul and bring me to paradise,
Let me join the angels singing glory to thee

Refrain

Have you heard the story of the kings from the orient,
Following the star that’s shining over his head?
Offering their precious gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense,
Kneeling with the ox and ass before his bed?

Refrain

Brothers, let us celebrate the birth of the Jesus child,
Sisters, come and welcome him, the newborn King;
Praise the Lord who sent him down from heaven at Christmas time,
Young and old and rich and poor, his praises sing.

Refrain

Christmas Lullaby


Clear in the darkness a light shines in bethlehem
angels are singing their sound fills the air
Wise men have journeyed to greet their Messiah
But only a mother and baby lie there

Ave Maria, Ave Maria
Hear the soft lullaby
the angel host sing
Ave Maria, Ave Maria
Maiden and Mother
of Jesus our King

Where are his courtiers and who are his people,
why does he bear neither sceptre nor crown
Shepherds his courtiers the poor for his people
With peace as his sceptre and love for his crown

Refrain

What though your treasures are not gold or incense
lay them before him with hearts full of love
Praise to the Christ child and praise to his mother
who bore us a saviour by grace from above

Lo, how a Rose e’er Blooming


Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind;
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Saviour,
When half spent was the night.

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.

What Sweeter Music


What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!

When children would reach for their stockings
And open the presents they found
The lights on the tree would shine bright in their eyes
Reflecting the love all around

He leaned with his head on the window
Watching evergreen bend in the snow
Remembering Christmas the way it had been
So many seasons ago

This year there’s no one to open the gifts
No reason for trimming the tree
And just as a tear made it’s way to the floor
He heard voices outside start to sing

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!

Carolers sang as he opened the door
Faces of friends in the crowd
And all of the shadows of lonely reminders
Driven away by the sound

Now the heart that for years had been silent
Was suddenly filled with the new King
As he clung to their hands like a child in the night
He found himself this revelling

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
The birth of this our heavenly King?

Nativity Carol


Born in a stable so bare,
Born so long ago;
Born neath light of star
He who loved us so.

Far away, silent He lay,
Born today, your homage pay,
Christ is born for aye,
Born on Christmas Day.

Cradled by mother so fair,
Tender her lullaby;
Over her son so dear
Angel hosts fill the sky.

Refrain

Wise men from distant far land,
Shepherds from starry hills
Worship this babe so rare,
Hearts with His warmth He fills.

Refrain

Love in that stable was born
Into our hearts to flow;
Innocent dreaming babe,
Make me Thy love to know.

Refrain

I Wonder As I Wander


I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

11 Christmas Carols by John Rutter and Clare College Choir Cambridge