Michæl McFarland Campbell

Always telling the story

Archive for December, 2019

Carols from King’s

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That is what I have just said about the service from King’s College this evening. We mourn Sir Stephen Cleobury but if you

Forget all that has been. Imagine it is your first Christmas and the first wonder of the incarnation. The differences won’t matter.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 24th, 2019 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Christianity

O Adonaï

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O Adonaï and Ruler of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and on Mount Sinai gave him your law. Come and with an outstretched arm redeem us.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 18th, 2019 at 5:00 pm

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O Sapientia

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O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and reaching from the beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 17th, 2019 at 5:00 pm

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Follow the star…

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Hail, O star that pointest
towards the port of heaven
Thou to whom as Maiden
God for Son was given.”

For over a thousand years the Church has greeted Mary, the Mother of God, as Star of the Sea: Ave maris stella Mary leads the pilgrim church to the rising Morning Star, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary. The Star of the Sea is an image that speaks to those travelling at sea, on land, or more in general to those whose life’s journey is dark and uncertain.

Pope Benedict XVI said:

Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy; a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. These are the lights of hope.”

Enclyclical Letter, Spe Salvi, 49

The Magi follow the star, a sign of great hope which they had seen in the East. They follow the star till it rests over the house where they find the child with Mary his mother (Matthew 2:11). They offer their gifts but receive a much greater gift themselves as they see the light of the world, a light that enlightens the nations (Luke 2:32).

Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun of righteousness that has risen above all the shadows of our lives. But to reach him we also need lights close by – people who shine with his light and so guide us along the way.

Follow the star… The events and services under this title in our churches during the holy season of Advent and the people worshipping almighty God through Jesus Christ in them are shining examples and reflections of his light. Like the Milky Way in the night sky, Christians of all generations form a band of pilgrims and journey towards Christmas, and thus prepare a way for the Lord. Let us share in the joy and follow Mary, the Star of the Sea.

So, as now we journey
Aid our weak endeavour,
till we gaze on Jesus
and rejoice for ever.”

Mary, our Star of Hope and Star of the Sea, is our guide on the way. With her ‘yes’ at the Annunciation she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us (John 1:14). Her unique role in the History of Salvation makes Mary a shining example of obedience to God and models perfect discipleship. As a mother, Mary has a particular understanding of the needs of God’s children and as the Mother of Christ a unique relationship and access to him who hears and answers all our prayers. May we follow the Star of the Sea Mary’s example and faithfulness, then we too will shine like stars in the world (Philippians 2:15). Follow the star…

written by Fr Andreas Wenzel, Shrine Priest, Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 5th, 2019 at 4:30 pm

The Gospel of Matthew – an inclusive message

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Last evening, a small group in our parish met at the Rectory for a short Bible study. The text was Matthew 1:1-21.

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

We noticed that many times at Christmas we hear the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, but beginning at verse 18, rather than beginning with the genealogy.

We recognised that genealogies are very much part of the Jewish tradition. Those reading this would have known their place in the genealogies of the Jewish nation. Those reading this genealogy would have recognised the names of people included.

A genealogy is normal, but this one is extraordinary. Included within the genealogy are five women. Not just women, but Gentile women, and some of questionable repute. Other than the Blessed Virgin Mary (v. 18), the four women are: Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v. 5), Ruth (v. 5), and Bathsheba (‘the wife of Uriah’) (v. 6). But who are these four women?

You can read their stories in the Bible: Tamar in Genesis 38, Rahab in Joshua 2:1-21; Ruth in Ruth 2-4, and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11-12). Be prepared, they are not the stories that you are told in Sunday School.

By chance, I mentioned to a Canadian Anglican friend that we had had this Bible study, he suggested that I listen to Bishop John Shelby Spong’s, Matthew Introduces the Virgin Birth. Bishop Spong makes it very clear that if you don’t know the Jewish Scriptures, then the signs that are in the text of his Gospel are lost.

Jesus has four ancestral mothers. – John Shelby Spong.

Please listen to Bishop Spong’s talk, he says it all so much clearer than I can type.


The line through which Jesus was born, was through four women. One which includes incest, prostitution, seduction, and infidelity.

All of humanity is included in the kingdom of God. As we said last night, the opening of Matthew’s Gospel hints at the inclusiveness of the kingdom of God. Jew and Gentile; male and female; married and not married; faithful and unfaithful; all are included. Isn’t that most wonderful?

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 5th, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Scouting #skillsforlife

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I am proud to be a member of Scouting. I grew up in The Scout Association in the UK and am currently still a member there as well as being a Scouter in Scouting Ireland. Both Associations help young people and adults to learn skills for life.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 1st, 2019 at 4:32 pm

1 December 2019 – Advent Sunday

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This morning I am playing for Mass at The French Church (St Paul’s, Portarlington) for Advent Sunday. It is the beginning of the Church’s Year. They hymns I have chosen link to the readings (Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary) and also for Advent in general.

  • Opening Hymn: ICH 118 – Behold, the mountain of the Lord
  • For Psalm 122 – ICH 506 – Pray that Jerusalem may have
  • Gradual Hymn – ICH 140 – The Lord will come and not be slow
  • Communion Hymn – ICH 127 – Hark, what a sound, and too divine for hearing 
  • Final Hymn – ICH 135 – O come, O come Emmanuel

There were two changes of tune from that set in the Irish Church Hymnal: Hymn 506 was sung to St Columba, a firm favourite with the congregation; Hymn 140 was sung to Kingsfold, three double verses seems not as long as six verses.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 1st, 2019 at 8:00 am

Posted in Music

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