Here we are enjoying a well deserved (in my estimation at least) break in India. It is always good to have family links and as such we have benefited from holidays in Viet Nam, Sweden, Poland, Romania and Teneriffe to name but a few. Some have been working holidays when we have been able to work alongside the church but this one is a family visit.
Elaine is a teacher in Mumbai (Bombay to us oldies!) and so we are visiting for just short of a month. We have many exciting plans for our stay but for the moment we are acclimatizing, that is until Elaine finishes work for her half term (even more well deserved, or so she tells me) break. We then fly up to Delhi and on into the Himalaya after visiting the Taj Mahal of course! Maybe there will be more of that to come in another posting.
Now back to the theme of this post. Transport ancient and modern taken from the name of a hymn book of the past: Hymns ancient and modern. It is always interesting visiting new countries and discovering aspects of life in a completely different culture.
The roads of Mumbai are nowhere near as full as the roads of Saigon but they are infinitely more dangerous. In Saigon there are many millions of small motor cycles all travelling at roughly the same speed. To cross the road at first seems to be foolhardy but if you are bold and just step out with purpose and walk across then all of the traffic passes around you quite safely unless you falter or fumble. But here in Mumbai it is different, the horn is more important than the break or steering mechanism. It simply shouts at everybody that you are there and are coming through whether they are in the way or not. There seems to be very few rules other that get to where you are going no matter what. The horn is simply a fashion accessory that you sound as often as possible.
But back to the theme, there all sorts of modes of transport seen just in the time it takes to drink a customary double espresso. The man above waved and encouraged me to take the photo of him with his lovely fruit. Then there were the boys carrying wood:
An action man on a kite:
A family outing to the beach:
Or a truck on the beach:
And many many more modes of transport ranging from very and primitive to up to date and very expensive vehicle as seen in the richest areas of London. A truly cosmopolitan mix of ancient and modern. I would ask the Indian government to protect this culture that they have developed please do not be tempted to bring n the sterility that we have in the UK where individualism is hard to find end even then is under threat from the safety lobby. there is something good about seeing and experiencing such variety.
This brings me to the real purpose: It is easy to be out with the old and in with the new people. This is especially true with the church. We so easily fall for the lie that would tell us that everything old is irrelevant and of little or no use today. The church has fallen hook, line and sinker for this where music is concerned. At times it seems to me that we would rather sing little love ditties to Jeesus (yes this Jesus seems to have 2 e's in His name!) than sing the rich words of the past simply because the tune is modern. I am certainly not saying the all modern songs fit into the ditty category but many do. Graham Kendrick along with Stuart Townend (along with many others) have written magnificent words and tunes that equal anything written in bygone days.
Here is one I took last year of Start Townend in Keswick.
As always the church very quickly polarizes and is guilty of this as far as music is concerned. Many have adopted the mindset that we must be modern for the young people, whilst others believe that if it was not written at least 100 years ago then it is not worth the paper that it was written on. we can soon find where a church is on this music-scale by reading their adverts. Contemporary usually means modern only and traditional reformed would mean Christian Hymns or even Psalm only. either extreme viewpoint to me is bonkers, the exponents of which are guilty of what i would urge the Indian authorities not to do with their culture. such churches have thrown the baby out with the bath water. There is in reality truth in the arguments on both sides and if you want to know where I fit into the argument I will confess to being closer to the Christian Hymns brigade but am not fully a devotee of the fashion. I love some of the modern songs and hymns (especially if the Jesus they speak of has only one e to it!)
Look at these words and be amazed:
In Christ Alone.
In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song,
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground.
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace.
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease,
My Comforter, my All in All.
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save,
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid.
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again,
And as He stands in victory.
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns, or calls me home.
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Written by Stuart Townend.
Amazing words and tune, it really does not matter when it was written if it causes you to worship Christ alone!