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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, January 18, 2004
    Knowing The Tune
    "Once...there was a tune and everyone knew how it went, but as time went by, people began to forget, until at last no one could remember."

    Larry Norman wrote "The Tune" in 1971. According to his website, during the next two years an author from the town where Larry first performed this, wrote a book called "The Singer" and another book called "The Song." The books were gigantic sellers. And the biggest gospel artist from the Southern gospel end of Christian show biz took "The Tune", kept the tempo and the flavour and re-titled it "God Gave The Song." It was one of the biggest hits the artist had up until that point.

    Sometime towards the end of the seventies or start of the eighties (I can't remember), a gang of yoof from St Luke's Church, Crosby got their act together and performed a musical based on The Tune. Others, like me, got involved too as it went 'on the road' round Liverpool. It was our heyday, in some ways. Great friendships formed, many still ongoing. I guess The Tune's part of the forgotten soundtrack to our lives. I thought I'd forgotten it, except...

    Today, for the first time in eight years, I was back at St Luke's on a Sunday, to preach this sermon to two congregations and rekindle valued friendships. Jan, who would have been part of the chorusline or something in that eighties production, now the church pianist, got inspired as I began walking down the aisle at the end of the 11.00 service. A tune came into her head. It was The Tune. Most of the congregation wondered what on earth it was. But scattered around the place, thinning-haired, wrinkled, podgy now like me, were a few eighties survivors ... who knew.

    If you've ever come across The Tune you'll understand that it's an allegory. If you haven't, you might guess what it's about. Knowing The Tune ... that's special...