From the May  Grapevine

 From this month's Grapevine,

 our parish magazine.

Copies available (50p) at the back of church or why not have it delivered every month?

See Susan Warrington or contact the church office.

A letter from Canon Rob McLaren

One way of ministering to your soul is to do something musical or creative. We neglect our soul to our cost. When the Lord is our shepherd he refreshes our soul. But we can help too. And music and creative arts often provide that help.

At the beginning of Holy Week just gone, our Quiet Morning was a creative workshop. The images were of Jesus' progress from his trial to his resurrection, together with artistically added text, all for colouring in. It is quite fashionable these days to coIour in thoughtful pictures with good quality felt pens. And not only fashionable but also, I suggest, good for the soul.

Yesterday I conducted the funeral service for a man who had been lead violin with the Hazel Grove Orchestra for over fifty years. He had also been a lifelong Derby County fan. Supporting Derby was good for his humility. Playing the violin was good for his soul. Moreover the violinist who played after his tribute was not just entertaining us. He was ministering to our souls.

Why don't you commit yourself to a creative, artistic or musical endeavour for the sake of your soul?

Or if none of that is your scene, then set yourself to learn to appreciate others' endeavours.

I found myself listening to the latter stages of the annual Classic FM Top 300 on Easter Monday. More strangely, I found myself rooting for Beethoven; hoping that his pieces did well in the chart and delighted when I heard them played. Beethoven has overtaken Dvorak and Tchaikovsky in my personal preferences when It comes to listening to a certain type of music, and I have only just realised.

On reflection this is good. Now I've got three favourites rather than two. And several more tunes which do the business when I am looking for something to minister to my soul. If I don't play an instrument or sing, then I have a large choice of music and prose with which to address my soul. Some pieces work in my soul's darker moments. Some tunes work in my souls lighter moments. Either way, it is good that good musicians and artists are able to communicate this God-given beauty into our inner being.

When Jean and I went to Rome for one of those special wedding anniversaries last year, I surprised myself by very much enjoying some of the art in the Vatican museums. Not all of it, as I've been a bit of a philistine in regard to fine art for much of my life. But I loved anything by Caravaggio and even started visiting backstreet churches which had one or two of his paintings. It was good for my soul in more ways than one, because most of his subjects were biblical.

Why don't you commit yourself to listening to particular music or poetry or prose? Or to appreciating particular art?

All of this creative appreciation does not need to be highbrow. Popular music of many types can be good for the soul. I have learnt this by witnessing people's choices for music to top and tail funeral services. what is important is our engagement with the creativity and beauty of music, poetry, art. This is a gift of God for our soul.

Yours in Christ,