We all went to the Greenbelt festival last weekend and had a great time. Highlights for me were hearing Graham Kendrick singing – on our wedding anniversary – one of the songs we had in our wedding service; night prayer under the night sky, accompanied by a celtic harp; doing some Sacred Harp singing (beautiful!); the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on Sunday night; and Fat and Frantic under the blazing sun on Monday lunchtime. I also enjoyed sitting in the Christian Aid tent drinking coffee and eating cake and chatting and then having another coffee.
I think my favourite thing was listening to Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies. I sneaked away from the big communion service on Sunday morning (which, to be honest, I found a bit dull and ‘worthy’) to see Harry Bird & his great little band. They do a lot of audience participation, and it’s all great fun, with songs about subjects as diverse as disarmament, pirates, cycling and beard snoods. Some of the lyrics are very thoughtful. The song “Dirty Hands” moved me more than the proper worship had done, with the chorus: “There’s only one thing I want when my time on this earth ends: a pair of dirty hands, oh Lord, and a clean conscience”. It’s worth clicking on this link to see a video someone’s made to go with the song: Dirty Hands. If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you should check if there’s enough dirt under your nails. I love the idea that the cleanliness of my conscience is in inverse proportion to the cleanliness of my hands. I love the idea, but I’m not sure that the dirt is all in the right place.
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Mrs Mabbs on Sea was at the Graham Kendrick concert but failed to pick up a text (hates mobiles – hadn’t got credit) & therefore the seat at the show so missed the relevance of the 22 year coincidence! she enjoyed it standing at the back! (but had forgotten the date as we celebrate our real marriage the day after the legal event – we married in the days before public spaces were legal wedding places). However she was amazed by a Goth Service (doesn’t normally like Goth things) – haunting celtic harp & women singers, with heavy metal base and drums, which followed the Anglican communion liturgy and was extremely & dramatically presented (the first one enjoyed for years). Plus another interesting one by the Order of The Black Sheep from Chesterfield.
Other highlights included scary talks on cybernetic & cybergenetics, challenging talks on community & discussing faith with people of all faiths and none with Dave Andrews, & an inspiring session with Francis Spufford (who is much more gracious than his adversaries) in response to radical atheists & their misunderstandings of what most Christians really believe. This is what is so great about Greenbelt each of us could tap into a wide range of creative events to suit our own interests and challenges.