Easter Praise Songs of Praise


Easter Praise

Aled Jones celebrates Easter Sunday from St Mary's Church in Portsmouth with glorious Easter hymns, festive readings and guest singers Paul Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Laura Wright.


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Transcript


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Hello and happy Easter from St Mary's in Portsmouth.

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You know, long before the custom of giving eggs came about,

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early Christians lit fires at Easter to symbolise the Resurrection.

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This church, along with many others,

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holds an Easter vigil with a bonfire

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as a reminder of Christ's light overcoming the darkness

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with the promise of eternal life.

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Well, our Easter celebration is about to get under way,

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we are going to be joined by congregations and choirs

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from across the Portsmouth area and some very special guests.

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On this Easter Day, glorious hymns and Easter readings,

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plus performances by West End star Ramin Karimloo,

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Manfred Mann front man and local lad Paul Jones

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and classical chart-topper Laura Wright.

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Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,

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Mary Magdalene went to the tomb

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and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance

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so she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple,

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the one Jesus loved, and said,

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"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb

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"and we don't know where they have put him."

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So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.

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Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter

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and reached the tomb first.

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He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there

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but did not go in.

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Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb.

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He saw the strips of linen lying there

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as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head.

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The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

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Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first,

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also went inside.

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He saw and believed.

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A big thank you to all our 700 singers here at St Mary's

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for that wonderful alleluya and to Laura Wright,

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who we'll be hearing more from a little bit later.

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Now it's time for another seasonal favourite.

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I hope you'll be singing along with us for The Day of Resurrection.

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Next we hear from the most popular choral work of all time,

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Handel's Messiah.

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And to sing a beautiful aria from the Easter section,

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I Know That My Redeemer Liveth,

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we welcome back soprano Laura Wright.

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# I know that my Redeemer liveth

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# And that he shall stand

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# At the latter day upon the earth

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# I know that my Redeemer liveth

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# And though worms destroy this body

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# Yet in my flesh shall I see God

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# Yet in my flesh shall I see God

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# Shall I see God

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# I know that my Redeemer liveth

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# For now is Christ risen From the dead

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# The first fruits of them that sleep

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# Of them that sleep

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# The first fruits of them that sleep

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# For now is Christ risen For now is Christ risen

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# From the dead

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# The first fruits

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# Of them that sleep. #

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Well, wasn't that wonderful?

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There'll be more from Laura a little bit later.

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Well, you might have seen our next guest as the Phantom of the Opera

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or more recently in the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables

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but now he's moving in a new direction.

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# God on high... #

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'I've been very blessed with being part of the two biggest shows'

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at two important times of their timelines.

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You know, the 25th anniversary of Les Mis and Phantom

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have been very successful for the show as well as for me.

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How do you feel when you're playing a character like Jean Valjean?

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Oh, blessed, you know?

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With that role I was something I didn't think I'd ever want to play

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or ever would play.

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Sir Cameron Mackintosh had great faith in me -

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more so than I had in myself.

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So, I said to him, "OK, I'll give it a shot."

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What I thought would be a nightmare turned out to be a dream role.

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-Is it a spiritual experience when you're up on that stage?

-Absolutely.

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Playing a character like Jean Valjean?

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Especially that character. But, for me, singing is spiritual

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cos it's, you're sharing something of yourself.

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Especially if you write your own music or...

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you know, if you're a recording artist

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but even with a role you tap into something that's spiritual

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and for me it's why I love to sing.

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And it's through music that Ramin has discovered his faith.

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A CD of Christian music inspired him to find out more.

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I was listening to it on the way home and I thought,

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"I wonder if there's something going on here?"

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Then when I got home there was a pamphlet to come to my local church,

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discussing debt of all things.

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And I was not great with money so I thought,

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"Well, I'll go and check it out."

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Since then I've become really close with the pastor,

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we try and meet once a week and, you know, I don't,

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for me it's a spiritual thing.

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I don't see it as religion, I don't see it as rules,

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I think God is all-forgiving.

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At least my God, the way I see it, you know?

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Ramin's now enjoying expressing his Christian faith in his music

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as a solo recording artist.

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# Constant angel... #

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-Tell me about Constant Angel.

-That's a gift.

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You know, it's got some of the most beautiful lyrics I ever heard

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but there's a lyric in there that sold it right away.

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It says - and it kind of explains my, sort of, ongoing journey

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and struggle with my faith -

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"There will be times you won't believe in much of anything,

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"that's when you'll find the grace of God in just surrendering."

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And I remembered, the one thing I keep trying to tell myself,

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"Stop controlling your destiny, stop controlling how to fix things.

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"Just, sometimes you've just got to take that leap of faith

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"and let it be. Surrender."

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# I have watched you fall

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# Through those tender years

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# And every time I thought there must be more that I could do

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# You found a light

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# A different way out there in front of you

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# I am in your eyes

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# Just that close to you

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# And now I see your innocence against a troubled sky

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# Everything you once believed is now a question why

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# It's OK

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# Don't lose your faith

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# Don't turn away

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# Everything that makes you who you are will not lead you astray

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# When it gets cold

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# Too dark to see

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# Reach in your soul and find me there, I'll always be

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# Your constant angel

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# Your constant angel

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# Who could ask the years

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# To keep its truth from you?

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# There will be times you won't believe in much of anything

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# That's when you'll find the grace of God in just surrendering

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# It's OK

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# Don't lose your faith

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# Don't turn away

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# Everything that makes you who you are will not lead you astray

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# When it gets cold

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# Too dark to see

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# Reach in your soul and find me there, I'll always be

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# Your constant angel

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# In every prayer I am constantly there with you

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# Don't lose your faith

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# Don't turn away

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# Everything that makes you who you are will not lead you astray

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# When it gets cold

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# Too dark to see

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# Reach in your soul and find me there, I'll always be

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# Your constant angel

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# Your constant angel

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# Your constant angel. #

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The Easter story continues to inspire modern hymn writers,

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among them Stuart Townend and Keith Getty.

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They wrote our next piece of music.

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It's a contemporary Resurrection hymn

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that's become popular in many churches.

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With our eyes we see The beauty of Easter

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As the earth awakens once more

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With our ears we hear The birds sing sweetly

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To tell us Spring again is here

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With our hands we pick The golden daffodils

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And the fragrant hyacinths

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But only with our hearts Can we feel the miracle of God's love

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Which redeems all men

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And only with our soul Can we make our pilgrimage to God

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And inherit his Easter gift of eternal life.

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# Love is come again

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# Like wheat that springs up green. #

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Our next guest is no stranger to singing in church.

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Like me, he was a chorister,

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he sang just down the road at Portsmouth Cathedral.

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But he moved away from choral music

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and found fame and fortune as a '60s rock star.

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# There she was just-a walking down the street

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# Singing doo-wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo... #

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Paul Jones topped the charts as the lead singer of Manfred Mann.

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What's it like, you know, being that rock 'n' roll idol, if you like?

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Which you were in the '60s.

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Well, it was exciting. Some things about it were VERY exciting

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and a lot of things about it were exceedingly boring.

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And that mixture of excitement and boredom

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is what sends people off the rails a lot of the time.

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# And tonight you would hear the saddest song of the year... #

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'I didn't go as bad as some people but I went off the rails somewhat.'

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I rebelled big-time. I mean, I just said, "Right, that's it!",

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you know, "Never catch me in a church again as long as I live.

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-"What's that other thing? Atheist, I'll be that!"

-Right.

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It didn't know what it was, you know, but I decided to, erm...

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Basically, I decided to live a life of, sort of, hostility to Christians

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and I did exactly that.

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Paul became well-known as a staunch atheist.

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In 1967 they asked me if I, cos they said, "You're a famous atheist,

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"we'd like you to come on television and argue with a famous Christian."

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I said, "Who's that?", they said, "Cliff Richard."

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I said, "Lead me to him," I said. ALED LAUGHS

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That's... When your hobby was arguing with Christians, you know,

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you don't turn down Cliff Richard. So, I just jumped at it.

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And I was horrible on that television programme,

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and it pains me to think about it now...

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but Cliff was great.

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I asked him years later, after I'd become a Christian,

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I said, "Well, you must have wanted to retaliate?

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"Come on, I was nasty. I was obnoxious. What did you want to do?"

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And he said, "It didn't matter what I wanted to do,"

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he said, "I had two friends with me and we prayed for you."

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-# Luck be a lady

-Luck be a lady... #

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Cliff's prayers were eventually answered when Paul met his wife Fiona

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in a National Theatre production of Guys And Dolls.

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# ..tonight! #

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She thought she was a Christian, I knew I wasn't

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and we, sort of, wanted to meet somewhere in the middle and...

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Came out of BBC Broadcasting House

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and, having some time to kill before going to the theatre where we were,

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she went into this building opposite, which is All Souls, Langham Place.

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And she flipped open a Bible and it fell open at Gospel of John,

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chapter 3 and verse 16. It just jumped out!

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And she came to the theatre that night and she said to me...

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to cut a long story short, "I'm going to that church on Sunday."

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And I said, "I'm coming with you."

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How did you change as a person when you then became a Christian?

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I think the main thing is...

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whatever I do now is not for me.

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Everything I did was for me.

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Everything I did was to build up my career, my fame, my fortune

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and so on and so forth, and that's rubbish!

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It's dangerous rubbish.

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It's just lovely to know that, erm, God loves us.

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That's the extraordinary, wonderful thing. God loves us.

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And to know that, you just want to love him back.

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# I woke up this morning with my mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Woke up this morning with my mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Woke up this morning with my mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Hallelu, Hallelu

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# Hallelujah

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# There's no better way to live than with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# No better way to live than with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# There's no better way to live than with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Hallelu, Hallelu

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# Hallelujah

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# You see, you can't hate your neighbour with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Can't hate your neighbour with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# You can't be prejudiced against him with your mind

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Hallelu, Hallelu

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# Hallelujah

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# There's perfect peace when your mind is

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Perfect peace when your mind is

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# Restin' on Jesus The Bible says it

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# Perfect peace when your mind is

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# Restin' on Jesus

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# Hallelu, Hallelu

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# Hallelujah

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# Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! #

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Risen Lord Jesus, as Mary Magdalene met you in the garden

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on the morning of your resurrection

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so may we meet you today and every day.

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Speak to us as you spoke to her.

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Reveal yourself as the living Lord.

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Renew our hope and kindle our joy

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and send us to share the good news with others.

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Amen.

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And may the peace and the joy of the risen Christ

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be yours this Eastertide and always.

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And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

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be with you and all whom you love, this day and always.

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Amen.

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Well, we're nearing the end of our Easter celebrations here in Portsmouth.

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A big thank you to Laura, Ramin and Paul Jones

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and let's not forget our organist Brian Moles...

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and our conductor Paul Leddington Wright.

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We're finishing with a hymn that combines powerful words

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with a tune by Handel that's instantly recognisable, you'll enjoy it.

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It's Thine Be The Glory.

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# Alleluia

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# Amen. #

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Next week it's the School Choir Of The Year competition.

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This'll be the 10th.

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In the first of three programmes from the Lowry Theatre in Salford

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six of the very best junior school choirs

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sing to win a place in the final.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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