I don’t confess to watching “Songs of Praise” often. It is not something that it is “cool” to be found watching, particularly if you have a charismatic bent. All those hymns can be off putting, although I think that the doctrine contained in them put most modern songs and choruses to shame. I once remember going away for a weekend at Bridlington during my university years. One of my friends lived there, so we all piled on a train to visit. Our weekend happened to coincide with a “Songs of Praise” practice session. The church was bursting at the seams. They sang the songs through until we were volume perfect, and advised us to keep looking to the front. It was just a practice, so there were no cameras that week. Our little group discussed whether we wanted to come back for the real thing a couple of weeks later, but being poverty stricken students, the budget just didn’t allow for such extravagances!
So yes, that gets us back to yesterday! Songs of Praise came from Narnia! It was based on the life and work of C S Lewis to coincide with the opening week of the film, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” There were hymns liberally sprinkled throughout, many of which I had sung long, long ago. Part of the theme for the programme was “advent”, so lots of the hymns had Christmas carol overtones.
One of the great themes of the book is about the triumph of good over evil. The guest boy band, Libera – a boy’s choir (not Westlife) sang a hymn “When A Knight Won His Spurs.” That brought back some very strong primary school memories for me! They also sang a Latin hymn. From the video, rather than the words, it was all about liberating the world and people.
One of the interviews was with a man who had supplied illustrations for a particular edition of the books. He admitted that he had found it hard to draw the scene of Aslan’s death on the stone table.
A comment made by him was about the whole story being one of “a whole world being liberated”. Is that not what Christianity is all about? It is not just about holy huddle in churches, singing hymns and Bible readings. That is just the starting point. There is a whole world out there that needs to be liberated. In the story, it is the presence of Alsan, who brings about the liberation. In our world, it is the presence of God.
There are some people who will see the film “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and they will just see a rattling good yarn. Others will see beyond that, I hope!