Dear friends,

If you receive the weekly email you’ll probably have had the one a few weeks ago, when I might possibly have mentioned Eurovision once or twice. And a lot of you spoke to me over the next week with an expression of genuine concern that I might have finally lost it. Eurovision? Really? You actually like that?

Uh, yes. Yes, I do.

If you have half an hour free, take some time to listen to the complete winners. It’s brilliant. Not least to note how much has changed since 1956. And how we used to favour mullets more.

The hilarity of Eurovision that we are just so good at noticing here does however detract sometimes from the brilliant message that is going on behind it all: it’s not about the winning. Thank goodness for that. No, it’s genuinely about the taking part. It’s a visual (and delightfully audible) sign of what we can do together. The whole thing was designed to help repair what had been so horrifically broken in Europe through the first half of the 20th century, using both our common ability to make music, and our common need for justice and peace to great effect. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also something brilliant about the fact that we can’t self-servingly vote for ourselves. We have to look for the good in others. Otherwise no one would win.

Was I the only one who felt slightly emotional during the opening of this year’s Eurovision? What’s that? You didn’t watch it? Well. Here’s your chance:

I don’t know about you, but I loved this opening to Eurovision. It was epic and kind of serious, but so joyful. Everything that Eurovision always should have been and has maybe got bogged down in its own reputation for whackadoodlery. And the new Eurovision anthem sums it all up.

We Write the Story – Avicii, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and choir.
(Music: Benny Andersson, Lyrics: Björn Ulvaeus, Arranged by Benny Andersson and Göran Arnberg)

Justice and Peace and Liberty
We write the story
We can fulfil the Legacy
We write the song
Welcome a new Enlightenment
We write the story
We can re-cast and re-invent
We write the song

True to the ones who lit the light
We write the story
We have a torch to reignite
We write the song
Free and equal
Reason and conscience
We are humans
We are one

Copyright © 2013 Mono Music AB / Kopparnäset Förlags AB

(No those aren’t all the words. The song is six minutes long! These are the highlights.)

Eurovision is about who we are- holding on to justice, peace and liberty, remembering where we have come from and striving for better. It’s about showing that we’re different but that we’re one.

Now, doesn’t that get even more brilliant when you realise that Eurovision regularly falls on the same weekend that the Church celebrates Pentecost? We spend all of the Saturday night remembering where we have come from and how much we have changed, and then on the Sunday we remember again when the Spirit was poured out on God’s people and power was given for the work today and tomorrow?

So now go back and look at the song above and make one small (and Christian-ly nerdy) change. Change all of the ‘We write the story‘s and ‘We write the song‘s to ‘He’. Because he does.

True to the one who lit the light, He writes the story.
We have a torch to reignite, He writes the song.

Isn’t that good news? After a week that seemed too dark and scary, I think the fact that He writes the song, and that we have a chance to be part of it is exciting. And hopeful. 

Pentecost is the birth-day of the Church. Because of God, because of Jesus, because of the Spirit, we are free and equal, with reason and conscience. We are human, and yet (despite everything), we are one.

Happy Pentecost.