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One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:36 that “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies”. This is a truth that illustrates John 12:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

As surely as Jesus knew He must lay down His life two thousand years ago, He also knew that He will come again in glory to rule and to reign (John 12:11, 17-18). In this hymn John Crum poetically likens Christ to the growing grain.

Ponder these words and keep them in your heart as you read and pray through the rest of this edition. Then come back and soak yourself in them again. Hope and love spring up green in Christ. And we must keep on sowing, whether are in joy or sadness. Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of that, any more than a farmer could afford to neglect planting the annual crop.

NOËL NOUVELET

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

The lovely tune is from medieval France, and it floated down the stairwell where we were recording, movingly sung by Megan Mellamphy, a friend of Tim Finch who has become our friend too. She is accompanied by the strings of Shirley Richards, Grace and Jonathan Lee, and Nick Evans-Pughe, by Jane Horsfall on harp, Julia Herzog, who is playing my favourite instrument, the recorder, with Colin Owen adding bass.

I sent this track to her, and Nancy Brook wrote back,

“Stunning. Love the Celtic sound and beautiful clear voice. It was so powerful that everyone gathered to express their love and worship to God even as ripples of fear spread across the world with so much political turmoil. May there be ripples of faith and hope spreading out from this love offering to the Lord.”

The second piece reflects the fact that there are few instruments that better celebrate Christ’s victory than trumpets! We thought you might also enjoy this voluntary for two of them by William Boyce, an eighteenth century English composer who edited a lot of church music. In this jubilant recording, Anthony Thompson and Kevin Ashman play the trumpets, with Christiane von Albrecht on the organ.

These are beautiful seeds and we greatly looking forward to sharing much more over the coming months from the unusually rich feast of glorious music and worship we have just enjoyed.

See this article on sowing through tears by John Piper, which he concludes by saying, “But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully) – I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

PS Sheila Francis took this lovely picture near where she lives in France.

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