Couperin Sicilienne (Corinne Frost and Peter Richards)
Music from Prisoners of Hope
There’s a long standing tradition that John was not on his own on the island of Patmos but that a man named Procurus voluntarily chose to accompany him; and that he was the man who wrote down the experiences that John had as he dictated them to him. And then later, after John’s release, passed them round the churches. Procurus is mentioned in Acts as one of the deacons who was full of the Spirit and wisdom.
Now it is only recently that I have discovered that there were two separate classes of prisoners on Patmos. Firstly there were the common criminals who were very badly treated. They were shackled and closely watched and forced to do hard labour. But there were also political prisoners who had fallen foul of the authorities and who were sent there to get them out of harm’s way. And within limits these people had a good deal of freedom around the island. That’s how John came not to be working down the salt or granite mines that people have spoken of through the centuries, but of which archealogical evidence in fact has no evidence. Instead John chose a small cave as his dwelling place. It’s a place that is venerated on the island to this day and it enjoys beautiful views over the sea. And that for something like 18 months was his home. Who says that you can’t have any influence when you are tucked away out of sight. Just look what God did. But there was real suffering for him.
We have seen that he has said that he was our companion in suffering. Now Jesus said in John 16:33 that we would have trouble and tribulation in this world and the word he used in Greek is thlipsis. it describes the extreme pressure that afflicts Christians in this world and it derives from the idea of a crushing weight that is permanently over someone, trapping and pinning them down, threatening to crush the life out of them. The sheer number of times that this word occurs in the New Testament is a pointer to the fact that it is considered normal in Christianity. The wonder is how the early church continued to grow despite wave after wave of intense thlipsis persecution and how it continues to do the same in places like Iran today.
If you are experiencing this thlipsis level of pressure it is so important not to forget the wonderful times you have had with the Lord. All those special times when his presence has been close and his Spirit has been leading so beautifully.
Handling grief triggers without letting other people’s expectations knock us off course.
Chopin Opus 72:1 (Jo Foote)
Patmos flushes hidden things to the surface
Continuing the theme of yielding to the Lord, this is opportunity to allow the Lord to track down things that have been set in motion in the past and bring them to the Cross.
The background music, Scarlatti’s sonata K85, is one of my favourite harpsichord pieces and is played for us by Christiane von Albrecht.
Developing our trust
To the accompaniment of a beautiful oboe piece by Jean Baptise Loeillet, one of my favourite composers, this short meditation encourages us to develop our trust in areas where we are struggling. As always, the idea is to take time to pray and ponder when the words and music stop . . .
Loeillet Sonata in C (Thomas Herzog and Christiane von Albrecht).
Patmos – Place of Exile, Place of Revelation
We are continuing to release meditations based on the first chapter of Revelation that reveal the glory of the Lord Jesus and which use the image of Patmos as a metaphor for tight and narrow times in our life. These particular tracks not only encourage us to look more deeply into ourselves but, especially the first one, can be used to help us identify with Christians experiencing extreme pressures of the kind we have been highlighting in recent edition.
Bach Double Violin concerto continued.
The Lord comes behind prison bars – an encouragement to remember those who are suffering for their faith.
Our aim in presenting these Patmos tracks is to encourage us to go on praying into the issues raised after the words and music come to and end. Take time to let people and situations come to mind around the world where the people of God are suffering for their faith. May their faithfulness bring about a great harvest of souls!
Wikipedia says “Psalm 126 is a song of joy and of thanks to God. The thanks is reflected in its third verse, “The LORD has done great things for us”. But this is overshadowed by the joyousness of the author. The author is gleeful to return to Zion. In many areas the people who are going out to sow, however, are starving. The only food they could possibly have is the seeds they kept for sowing. The people literally cry when they place their only food in the ground because they know they will receive the harvest. Vs. 5 and 6 are stating that when we give sacrificially to the point of the last portion, God will be faithful to bring in the bountiful harvest. It also shows that those who plan for the future, will be rewarded.”
Some months ago I adapted the words of Emily Bronte’s poem The Prisoner. Let these words, and the moving music we recorded wash over you, and take time once again to pray on behalf of those who find themselves deprived of liberty, or who are struggling to retain hope.
Here is another meditation from our Patmos cd
Music includes pieces by Schopp and Loeillet, played by Thomas Herzog and Christiane von Albrecht
The whole point of these Patmos tracks is to go on praying into the issues raised after the words and music come to an end. Pray for people who fall into those categories . . . This track looks at some of the fall out from loss and bereavement.