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It has long been one of my dreams to release a recording from one of Bach’s magnificent Brandenburg concertos. I was delighted that we were able to record one of my favourite pieces last year. The main presentation includes a further instalment of verses that Alex McVickers, Ros and I recorded some years ago from the book of Sirach. This book is included in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles but is still relatively unknown to most Protestants. I was aware that the music, which at times becomes wonderfully wild would pose quite a challenge for Sally to illustrate. As you will see she has prepared a magnificently creative montage that provides us with a far greater feast for our senses than one showing can take in.

We have posted the music as a separate Sound Cloud for those who would rather listen to it without either words or images.

The references are from the book of Sirach

Study the generations long past: see and understand;
has anyone who hoped in the Lord been disappointed?
Has anyone who persevered in his fear been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?

For the Lord is compassionate and merciful;
He forgives sins, and comes to the rescue in times of trouble.

From the first I took my stand, and wrote down as my theme:
“The works of the Lord are all good,
And He will supply every need in its hour.
for sooner or later, everything proves its worth.

Man’s compassion is only for his neighbour,
but the Lord’s compassion is for every living thing.
He has compassion on those who accept discipline
and are eager to obey His decrees. (Sirach 18:13-14)

Not everything is within man’s reach,
for the human race is not immortal.
Is anything brighter than the sun?
Yet even the sun suffers eclipse,
The Lord marshals the armies of high heaven –
but the thoughts of flesh and blood are often far from inspired.
No man can measure His majestic power,
still less tell the full tale of all His mercies.
When a man comes to the end of them
He is still at the beginning. (Sirach 17:29-18:7)

So now, sing praise with all your heart and voice,
and bless the name of the Holy One. (Sirach 39:28-35)

The Lord created man out of earth,
and sent him back to it again.
He set a fixed span of life for them,
and granted them authority over everything on earth.
He endowed them with strength like His,
and made them in his own image,
granting them dominion over beasts and birds.

He established a perpetual covenant with them
and revealed to them His decrees.
Their eyes saw His glorious majesty,
And their ears heard the glory of His voice.
And He said to them, ‘Beware of all unrighteouness;
Guard against all wrong doing.

Take pity on us, Master, Lord of the universe, look at us,
spread fear of yourself throughout all other nations.
and let them see Your power.
As they have seen Your holiness displayed among us,
so now in our sight let us see Your greatness displayed among them.
Let them acknowledge, as we have learned to do,
that there is no God but only You, O Lord;

Renew your signs, repeat Your miracles,
Win glory for Your hand, Your right arm.
Remember the day You have appointed and hasten it,
and give the world cause to recount Your mighty deeds (Sirach 36:1-8)

And now, come and bless the God of the Universe,
who has done wondrous things everywhere on earth;
who from our birth ennobles and exalts our lives
and deals with us in mercy.
May He grant us joyful hearts,
and send Israel lasting peace.
And confirm His mercy towards us, (Sirach 50:22-24)