Monday, 3 August 2009

laser love worship

ATF2 St Peter-on-the-wall, Bradwell-on-Sea, was the ideal setting for an evening of worship led by After The Fire. The band is in the middle of a series of festival gigs, but took time out to lead what has become an annual pilgrimage to the beautiful Bradwell chapel. I saw ATF at Greenbelt in 1979 when they headlined the festival along with Cliff Richard, Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman and a host of other Christian bands and artists from that classic period. The band became persona non grata at Greenbelt for a while after overrunning the curfew and finishing a barn storming set accompanied by a spectacular firework display.

This was a more low key affair with acoustic instruments and voices unaided by a pa system. The natural acoustics of the chapel provided all the amplification necessary, as the mixture of hymns, classic ATF songs and other material resonated from the ancient stones, complimented by bird song from the chapel’s residents. The worship took the form of Evening Prayer with familiar prayers and responses complemented by the music. There was a reflection from J B Phillips circa 1974, a Bible reading from Ephesians and a powerful testimony from Carly and Rob Lucas.

The Music framed the worship with the congregational singing of the classic hymns Love Divine, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Here Is Love and a moving solo rendition of O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go from Rob Halligan. Other material included REM’s Everybody Hurts, Seven Days from Show of Hands, Coldplay’s Fix You, I Will Follow by Martin Joseph and Elvis Costello’s What’s So Funny. Then there were the ATF songs I Don’t Understand, Sometimes and the highlight of the evening a creedal version of Laser Love!

Pete, John, and the rest of the crew were all on good form, leading in a relaxed but prayerful manner and making sure that the worship never became just a performance. The evening was rounded off by a lovely walk back to the car as the sun bathed the chapel and the surrounding fields with a golden glow. 'Perfick' as Pa Larkin would have said.


1 comment:

Tim Chesterton said...

I remember going to Bradwell Pilgrimage there in the 70s - good memories!