I hear the mission bell…

Delirious? The Mission Bell album cover

Back at work yesterday and I was still feeling a little dizzy and headachy but delighted to be back. Feeling a little fragile, I listened to Delirious? The Mission Bell. (If you don’t believe me just check Last.fm!)

I’m quite particular about the music I listen to: for example, I’m one of these people that likes it to be an enjoyable experience listening to music. And of course taste hides a multitude of sins.

I remember as a child wondering why so much explicitly Christian music was … well, rubbish. I mean I know that their hearts were in the right places, but still … there was so much really awful, tacky, cringeworthy stuff out there in the 70s and 80s. (And you wonder why I got into Slayer and Megadeth!)

The first album of Christian music that made me sit up and begin to believe again in Christian music was the first worship album from Holy Trinity Brompton, the Church of England parish in London from which emerged The Alpha Course — a ten week course introducing people to the basics of the Christian faith, a faith which believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God … I’ll stop clarifying everything now shall I? It rocked! It had great tunes, was played with passion and skill, and the lyrics had integrity and depth and meaning, and I related to it.

A few years later, having moved to London, I discovered Delirious? Originally a worship band for a Christian youth event called “Cutting Edge” Delirious? have been around for over ten years now, and I’ve pretty much loved everything they’ve recorded. Their worship songs aren’t like the standard, stereotypical worship choruses typified by this parody:

This is just another Graham Kendrick song!
This is just another Graham Kendrick song!
Sing the first line twice,
and then you sing it again!
This is just another Graham Kendrick song!

I could relate to the songs, to the lyrics, to the attitudes, to the desires to worship God in a meaningful way. And importantly none of their songs use phrases like “I’ve been bathed in the blood of the lamb who has washed my sins away”, which speaks to me more of animal sacrifice than a meaningful, everyday faith in a living, loving God.

Every now and then I just need to do a little bit of modern, music-style worship, and Delirious?’s are often the albums that I reach for. While at times I listen to Gregorian chant which chills me out and in which I find a place of peace, sometimes I also find myself unexpectedly worshipping God listening to Soulfly’s music, or certain Megadeth tracks, as well as explicitly Christian artists like Delirious? and Matt Redman. I’ve returned to listening to the most current Depeche Mode album too, and find a lot to give thanks for in that. That’s one of the great things about God: he can find you in all sorts of unexpected places.


Next month the monthly Powerpoint event starts again. Held at St Thomas’s Scottish Episcopal Church on Glasgow Road, Edinburgh, Powerpoint is a monthly youth event held on the second Friday of each month (the third Friday in April).

The band is pretty much the same as last year: Neil Costley on lead acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Tim Cocking on lead keyboards and backing vocals, Mike Arthur on lead bass, me on lead electric guitar and lead REAL METAL™ and the legend that is Andy Weir on lead drums, lead percussion and backing vocals. And I’m really, really looking forward to it.

If it is your discipline, please pray for Powerpoint, for us as musicians and Christians that we’ll be able to lead people into a place of engagement with God’s Holy Spirit through the worship, and for St Thomas’s who are undergoing serious renovation work in the hall which will make things rather tight for space during the October gathering.

I’d better get my guitars dusted down and do some practicing…

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

3 thoughts on “I hear the mission bell…”

  1. What did you make of the album?

    Did you like it? It is billed as more “overt” than previous offerings. One of the reviews of it on their own website talks about them just focusing on the church folk again rather than trying to be chart-friendly… although they are playing the Carling Academy in Glasgow!

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