I’ve just given my first performance of the song “Ashes to Ashes” in many years.
As I waited for my spot in the Communion Service at the 2013 Synod of NSW & ACT, I realised that I’d written that song 25 years ago when I was a minister here. When I was asked to perform the song for this service – which had a focus on care for the environment as an expression of our faith in God the Creator – I was startled to see how relevant it continued to be after a quarter of a century. I was a bit sad about that.
But then I realised that when I’d written the song the concerns it expressed were very marginal to the interests of the church. There would have been no likelihood of the Synod having such a focus in the Communion Service. In 1987 “Ashes to Ashes” expressed concerns from the edge of the church. In 2013 is expresses concerns that are those of the mainstream of the church. That’s encouraging.
The mainstreaming of environmental concerns in the life of the Uniting Church is one of the signs of the work of the Spirit in our time that the preacher spoke about (Jan Sutch Picard, from the Iona Community).
By the way, I found I needed to sing the song 3 semitones lower than in 1987. 25 years will do that!