I love Irish music. I don’t care what it is, everything from the Dubliners through to Goats Don’t Shave (yes that’s a band name). I spent a few years playing in an Irish band in Irish pubs. I made a good few friends. The band I now play in, we play a lot of Irish numbers.
I’d like to to tell you about the “terrible” behaviour of the Irish football fans in Euro 2016, so far they have Fixed someone’s car roof, putting money in the car to pay for the damage caused when an Irish fan jumped on it to get extra height, they have sung quiet lullabies to a baby on a train and shushed other people. They have sung in support of the french police when they came to move them on. So different from the terrible attacks of the Russian and English fans. They always sing, you can’t stop them singing about what they are doing.
If you see Irish fans with their Green white and orange flags you know that they are up to good. They are charming the world and they are coming to clear up your litter. Their song is “Green Lad’s picking up Litter”, “Stand up for the French Police” and “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” along with others.
The small LGBT Christian fellowship I am honoured to be part of it had a vigil for the Orlando victims, we read out each person and their age and remembered all those who suffer because the are LGBT, sometimes at the hands of people that call themselves “Christians”.
We had a visitor to our group, a trainee Baptist Pastor, he wasn’t gay but he was upset with the way that the Baptist church had dealt with the whole thing and in fact was dealing with LGBT people. He prayed at the end that the church would learn to be like our group, welcoming anyone who needed a safe place.
So what, might you ask, have these two things in common? Both groups have a binding interest, faith, and simply being Irish, simply being.
I hope that the church will learn from both the wonderful Irish about singing and doing good and from the wonderful members of the LGBT group about being accepting. Imagine a church who’s colours and song was that it was a safe place for all people and that when they sang you knew they were helping someone out.
1 Cor 13.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Paul (not the apostle)