27/11/2016 Songs of Praise


27/11/2016

For Advent Sunday, Connie Fisher meets a man who gave the gift of life to a relative stranger. Worship leader Matt Redman sings his new Christmas song.


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Transcript


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It's Advent Sunday, a time of waiting as Christians prepare

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for the coming of Christ and the hope that his birth brings.

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Today on Songs Of Praise, I meet a man who is hoping and waiting.

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For seven years, he's been undergoing dialysis,

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waiting for a kidney transplant that he hopes will transform his life.

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My faith's always been a rock that I can fall back on

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rather than it being a conflict of, "Why am I going through this?"

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As our thoughts turn to gift-giving, we have a remarkable story

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about a man who gave a life-changing gift

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when he became a living organ donor for a relative stranger.

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I just heard a voice that said,

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"You're going to give him your kidney."

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And for me, that voice was the voice of God

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telling me this is going to happen.

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Claire McCollum meets the writers

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of one of the most popular modern hymns in the world.

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And this Wednesday is St Andrew's Day,

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so Richard Taylor is in Scotland

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to find out more about their patron saint.

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Advent is the time of the year that motivates many musicians

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and we have a real treat for you

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with a brand-new Christmas song by Matt Redman.

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It's also the season for some of our favourite sacred music

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and we begin with one that manages to combine the idea

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of longing and joy.

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O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

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More than 6,500 people in the UK

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are currently on the organ transplant list,

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desperately in need of a donor to be found.

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Simon Howell is one of those.

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And for him, every day is a waiting game.

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He was born with a serious condition that's causing his kidneys to fail.

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Hiya, Simon, nice to meet you. I'm Connie. Sorry to disturb you.

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-Can I join you, James?

-Yes.

-Yes! Get in.

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How much has your life changed since you were diagnosed?

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It's changed completely. I was working as a doctor, long hours.

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Professional lifestyle, very busy.

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And now I don't work any more, I've been retired for years.

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I often have a sleep during the day for a few hours,

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just so that I'm able to go out

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and do the school run again in the evening

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and spend time with the children at dinner time and do bedtime.

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It's a full-time illness.

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We got married in '98.

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Yeah, it's been really hard.

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I mean, this isn't the life we expected

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or the life we thought we'd have.

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But we do have two amazing, gorgeous children,

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so that's a total miracle and answer to prayer.

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My faith has always been a rock that I can fall back on,

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rather than being a conflict of, "Why am I going through this?"

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My faith is just, well, my faith is there, that's rock solid.

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Everything else just fits on top of that.

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Simon has had one kidney transplant from his mother.

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But unfortunately, after a year,

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that kidney failed and Simon has had to go back onto dialysis.

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Now, three times a week,

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he attends hospital in Brighton for life-saving haemodialysis.

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Some people think you have dialysis once and that's it.

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No, you've got to have it every couple of days at least.

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I think people also think that, whether it's dialysis or transplant,

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whatever treatment it is, is a cure, that you're better now.

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It's like, "No," kidney disease doesn't have

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a cure the way other diseases might have. It's...

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-It's a constant fight?

-It is a constant fight.

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Well, it's Advent, a time for waiting

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and you know a thing or two about waiting.

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How do you reflect on that?

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I remember as a child, when you're waiting desperately

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through the holidays for Christmas

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and it's ten days, 20 days, whatever.

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But you know, it will come and that's your reassurance.

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Whereas when you're waiting for a kidney,

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you've got no guarantee that it will ever come.

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And this is Mummy? And Daddy?

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'To raise awareness of the need for organ donation,

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'Simon and Anita have written a children's book

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'based on their family's experience.'

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-So, who's this?

-Me.

-That's you?

-This is a true story.

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This is my everyday life.

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At the end of every night, we pray and this is what we say.

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"Please help the doctors and nurses find a new kidney for Daddy soon.

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-"Amen."

-Amen!

-Amen.

-SHE LAUGHS

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Have you ever wondered what makes a great hymn?

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Well, Claire McCollum caught up with the writers of what,

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according to a Songs Of Praise poll,

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has become the nation's second most popular hymn.

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In Christ Alone.

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Beautiful, Keith.

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Such a privilege to be with you both

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on the 15th anniversary of In Christ Alone.

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It's such a stunning, stunning piece of music.

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How did it all come about?

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Our publishers kindly introduced us, and so that was really...

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We began from there and I sent him some tunes.

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As soon as I put the CD on, the first tune,

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I just thought there's something about this, there's something

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that is kind of grand about it,

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there's something that is really singable,

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because Keith is amazing at writing

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singable melodies for the churches.

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And I thought that really works and yet it's really moving,

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there's an emotion about it.

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And so, we talked briefly about themes and began to think actually,

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birth, life, death, resurrection of Christ

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and what that means for us would be the best way to go.

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Obviously, a collaboration. You hadn't worked together before.

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What are the challenges you face?

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You questioned a couple of ideas in the lyrics, one was the first line.

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Yes, the first line, as I kind of heard it,

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was, "My hope is found in Christ alone."

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And Keith came back and he said, "How about swapping it round?

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"Call it, 'In Christ alone, my hope is found.'"

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# In Christ alone, my hope is found... #

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'Now, I was a bit annoyed at that

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'because I had a rhyme for line three'

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that was kind of like, with "In Christ alone,"

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so I didn't want to change it.

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But of course, that first phrase tells you what the song's about.

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It's how people know the song and so,

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I think it was absolutely the right decision to do it.

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-ALL:

-# ..cry to final breath,

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# Jesus commands my destiny... #

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'What is it that makes a great hymn?'

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'Stuart, what he does in his lyrics is create

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'a new unique perspective and a sense of beauty.

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'And letting you look at something that's simple

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'in a way you've never seen before.'

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In Christ Alone has stood the test of time over 15 years.

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And also, something you should be proud of as well,

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it became number two in the Songs Of Praise

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All-Time Favourite Hymns, just below How Great Thou Art.

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What does that mean to you?

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Well, How Great Thou Art was recorded by Elvis

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and launched by Billy Graham, so they've an unfair start, I think.

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THEY LAUGH

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-You're still going for that number one spot.

-I tell you what.

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We're nothing but competitive.

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CONNIE: Next Wednesday,

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Scotland celebrates its patron saint's day.

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So, Richard Taylor went to St Andrews to find out more.

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RICHARD: Now, according to legend, in the eighth century,

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this beautiful stretch of Scottish coast received

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a rather unusual visitor who was carrying a rather unusual package.

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His name was Regulus, a Greek monk, and he was on a mission from God.

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You see, Regulus had received a vision in which an angel

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had told him to take a certain relic that was housed in his monastery

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and to travel with it to the ends of the Earth.

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Regulus didn't know where he was going, but he obeyed.

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Travelled for months over land and sea

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and was probably mightily relieved when he got here

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and was told to stop, put down the relic

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and to build a shrine to house it.

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The relic was part of the body of St Andrew, one of the 12 Disciples.

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This is what remains of the church that contained the shrine.

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You can see the bases of the pillars on either side of the nave,

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the outline of the walls and the high altar

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where the relic would have laid.

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But the church was demolished in the 16th century

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during the Scottish Reformation and the relics were lost.

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In the Middle Ages, this place was a major centre of pilgrimage

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and Andrew became Scotland's patron saint.

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You can usually identify images of Andrew because he's standing

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next to a cross in the shape of an X, known as a saltire.

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According to tradition, Andrew spent the later part of his life

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preaching in what is modern-day Turkey.

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Until he so outraged the authorities

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that they had him crucified.

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But they didn't nail him to an upright cross,

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they tied him to a saltire cross.

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The idea being to make him suffer an even slower death.

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But Andrew turned the table on his persecutors,

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continuing to preach and making even more converts.

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And of course, the saltire cross lives on in the flag of Scotland.

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I'm meeting with Adrian Cox to find out more about Andrew

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and his position as Scotland's patron saint.

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This was a huge cathedral,

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the centre of the Church of Scotland's power

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in the Middle Ages.

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-A major pilgrimage centre?

-Yes.

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This was an opportunity here that was rather special because

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Andrew was an Apostle of Christ

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and he was martyred.

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So, his relics were considered very, very powerful.

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Somebody that you'd want to get close to to admonish your sins

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throughout your life, something very important in the medieval period

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that people were very serious about.

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And also, to seek cures sometimes for ailments and disease.

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If you're a peasant in medieval Scotland,

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then Bible stories set around the Sea of Galilee and Palestine

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might have felt a little...remote.

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But the idea that the bones of Andrew, Jesus's own disciple,

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were here on Scottish soil would bring them that much closer

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and have created a bond between Andrew and Scotland

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that is unbreakable.

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That traditional favourite was written by

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Cecil Frances Alexander in 1852, especially for St Andrew's Day.

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And our next piece of music brings us right up to date

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with a brand-new song from Matt Redman.

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I love the old carols

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and all the ancient ways we sing about Christmas.

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But I also love bringing a fresh voice

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to the wonder of Christmas, the story of Christmas.

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I'm singing a song called How Far and really, it's a journey song,

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it's a song telling a story

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and trying to help us travel to Bethlehem together

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and eventually to the heart of God.

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# In Nazareth, of Galilee

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# An angel speaks the sacred words

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# Mary, you will be with child

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# The miracle of virgin birth

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# Joseph heeds the angel's sign

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# And takes her as his promised wife

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# Now, through the night they journey on

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# How far is it to Bethlehem?

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# Wise men plan their course ahead

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# Searching for the promised king

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# Now from the East, a guiding star

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# How far is it to Bethlehem?

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# How far

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# How far

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# To the place where hope was born?

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# The walls outside Jerusalem

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# Oh, see the mount of Calvary

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# There, lifted high up on a cross

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# The saviour of humanity

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# He conquered sin and buried shame

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# Rose to life and burst the grave

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# Forever bridged the great divide

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# With perfect grace and sacrifice

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# How far

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# How far

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# Love has come

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# To bring us home

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# How far they went to Bethlehem

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# How far you went for Calvary

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# No greater grace was ever known

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# No greater love was ever seen

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# We set our hearts on pilgrimage

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# We're caught up in your story too

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# From Bethlehem to Calvary

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# Our hearts will always follow you

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# How far

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# How far

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# Saviour, lead us to your heart

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# How far?

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# How far?

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# Jesus, lead us to your heart. #

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Gifts come in all shapes and sizes,

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but none more precious than the gift of life.

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Donating an organ can mean the difference between life and death

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for those waiting.

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I've come to Faith Dimensions church in Milton Keynes

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where Darren Ferguson runs the multimedia team

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for his mother and father, who are the church leaders.

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From birth, Darren has suffered with renal failure.

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So, talk me through how many transplants you've had.

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-I've had five in total.

-Five?

-First one was when I was 13.

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-That literally lasted for eight hours.

-Gosh!

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Literally just went in the theatre, had the operation.

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I turned to Mum, "Is it working?" All I remember is seeing her crying.

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And she turned round and said,

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"Darren, I'm really sorry, they had to take it out."

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So, that really did knock me because I was expecting to start

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enjoying life and everything else.

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You know, you had your whole life ahead of you.

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-You were held back by renal failure.

-Yeah, every day was painful.

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I did get to a point where it was like, you might as well die.

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This is no life at all.

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'But things were about to change for Darren when Lee Ferrigon

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'came to a service at the church five years ago.'

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-And this is where you first met Darren?

-Yeah.

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At the time, my wife had just died. She had stomach cancer.

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It was quite sudden and whilst Keisha was in hospital

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and she was going through her trauma,

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she always had this message

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of hope.

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Erm, and I wanted to continue that message,

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I wanted to continue in that strength that she had.

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# Hallelujah, hallelujah! #

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While attending the church, Lee had heard about Darren's illness

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and his need for a kidney transplant.

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We'd just finished here at Faith Dimensions, the service.

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The other side of the room,

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I remember seeing Darren just walking and it was quite strange

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because it's almost like everything just stopped.

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I saw him, he looked quite distressed at the time, quite tired.

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And at that point, I just heard a voice that said,

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"You're going to give him your kidney."

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And for me, that voice was the voice of God telling me

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this is going to happen.

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I remember him speaking to me, saying,

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"I want to give you a kidney."

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-Just out of the blue?

-Out the blue! Out the blue.

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I'm like, "What? What are you talking about?"

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At the time, I remember Darren's face. He was kind of like... "What?"

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Kind of thing. He didn't really seem to take me seriously.

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I wasn't rude, but I was kind of like, "You know what, I'm fine."

0:27:280:27:31

Because as I said before, I've kind of adapted to my lifestyle.

0:27:310:27:35

For me, it was about just obedience.

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I was getting more out of this than they were and I don't think

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even probably to this day, they don't even realise that.

0:27:440:27:47

In the back of my mind, I was like, "Let's just shut this guy up!"

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-SHE LAUGHS

-Let's just shut him up.

0:27:500:27:53

Let's go to the hospital because with transplants,

0:27:530:27:55

there's so many tests that you have to go through.

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The process happened a lot quicker than it should have done.

0:27:580:28:01

Because the test came out so well and so brilliantly.

0:28:010:28:05

Even some of the doctors and the surgeons,

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they just couldn't believe how well and perfect a match we were.

0:28:080:28:12

I'm like, "No, this can't be real. This cannot be real."

0:28:120:28:16

THEY LAUGH

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'But it was real and the operation was a complete success.'

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It's given me a lot of strength and it's given me a lot of hope.

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It's given me a wider family and wider support.

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'My angel came, Lee. Bless him.

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'And he's given me a new lease of life.'

0:28:350:28:37

Finally.

0:28:370:28:39

-Yeah, yeah.

-I know!

-THEY LAUGH

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'Lee is now an important part of the family.

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'Darren and his wife Amanda have had two daughters

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'and Lee is their godfather.'

0:28:480:28:50

'You know, there's been times where I've wanted to give up.

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'You know, I've wanted to die.'

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You go to bed thinking, "I don't want to see tomorrow."

0:28:550:28:58

Just don't want to see the next day but somehow, your eyes open.

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In the back of your mind, thinking, "I'm still here."

0:29:010:29:04

But God has been so good. He's got me through every challenge.

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Every single one, I can't sit here

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and say it's because of me or my own strength.

0:29:110:29:13

You know, God has just brought me through every single time.

0:29:130:29:16

-ALL:

-# Just the beginning

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# There's so much more God has in store

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# Just the beginning

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# It's not the end, this is just the overture

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# Just the beginning

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# I know you're blessed

0:29:370:29:39

# But you still haven't seen God's best

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# Not yet

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# I already know

0:29:490:29:53

# God's been good to you

0:29:530:29:57

# I already know

0:29:580:30:02

# God's been faithful to you

0:30:020:30:07

# I already know

0:30:070:30:09

# He's done some incredible things

0:30:090:30:14

# But I declare and I decree

0:30:160:30:20

# I prophesy with authority

0:30:200:30:24

# You haven't seen your best days yet!

0:30:260:30:30

# You haven't seen your best days yet!

0:30:310:30:34

# You haven't seen your greatest victory yet!

0:30:350:30:39

# You haven't seen your greatest victory yet!

0:30:400:30:43

# This is just

0:30:440:30:48

# This is just

0:30:490:30:52

# This is just the beginning

0:30:530:30:59

# Yes! Yes

0:31:000:31:05

This is just...

0:31:050:31:07

# This is just

0:31:070:31:11

# the beginning

0:31:110:31:16

# Do you receive the prophecy? #

0:31:190:31:23

Uh-oh!

0:31:280:31:29

Well, from this happy family scene, we say goodbye.

0:31:290:31:32

Next week, Josie d'Arby is in Bath

0:31:320:31:35

as the stunning Abbey counts down to Christmas.

0:31:350:31:37

Until then, we leave you with this wonderful Advent hymn

0:31:370:31:41

from the beautiful Romsey Abbey.

0:31:410:31:43

Thanks for watching.

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For Advent Sunday, Connie Fisher meets a man who gave the precious gift of life to a relative stranger, and worship leader Matt Redman sings his new Christmas song.

Music: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel from St Alban's Church, Bristol Lord of All Hopefulness from All Saints Church, Cheltenham In Christ Alone by The Gettys Jesus Calls Us! from St Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen How Far by Matt Redman Just the Beginning from New Testament Assembly, Tooting Hark What a Sound from Romsey Abbey, Romsey.


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