Archive for April, 2020

We will remember them

I really should blog before I Facebook-post. So, I’m playing catch-up and sharing something I wrote three days ago – Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand; that day when we stand as one and remember all who offered themselves in service for their country … amid the horrors of war and loss of life … down the decades and indeed centuries in many countries.

Actually, I began writing it the evening before Anzac Day. I couldn’t get to sleep. Those memorable words by Laurence Binyon known as The Ode wouldn’t leave me. I eventually dozed off, but the tune that was forming was still there … it stayed through to the morning.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Dale and I, Joel’s girlfriend Upasana and some neighbours gathered to light up the dawn on our footpath at 6 am, sharing conversation- all socially-distanced and Dale’s yummy Anzac biscuits afterwards.

I came in for a while, had a coffee from our new machine, sat some more … then headed into the study. My setting for Binyon’s words soon followed. Dale added a gentle vocal. It’s already on Facebook but let me blog-share it with you. Quite deliberately, apart from repeating the final line, I have not tinkered with these almost-sacred words.

three generations: David, Thomas & Howard MacGregor

This setting is in honour of my grandfather, Thomas Laur MacGregor – ambulance officer at Gallipoli, Western Front and the Middle East during WW1.

Shalom, DAVID



My latest piece of instrumental music for these COVID-19 times as I/we travel through this season. Not sure if I’m adjusting that brilliantly. Mind you; are any of us?

I was going to call this very jazzy piece “Stir Crazy”. Sometimes I feel a bit like that. Introvert and home-body that I am, nevertheless (usually with Dale), I love:

  • going to the beach for a walk
  • having a Southbank or Springfield Robelle Domain swim
  • enjoying a coffee or meal at a local cafe
  • going to the movie or play OR the cricket or football
  • worshipping with my church community … I mean, in person 😀
  • having people over when we want to
  • travelling

Can’t do that right now. None of us can really.  We will get through this … I remind myself.  My Christian faith reminds me to be still and know God’s presence.  I keep coming back to Psalm 46:10.

So … with no disrespect to the Willie Nelson/Patsy Cline classic, I’m simply calling this one: CRAZY.

Over 20 years ago while in Cairns, Dale and I wrote an all-ages musical called Scary Times.  This coronavirus thing sure is scary … when you consider its implications.  “Crazy” is equally apt.

So, take a listen. I had some fun putting the recording of this together!  Do what you like with it. Loop it and even have a dance.  Some already have!

Take care,


Be Still

Psalm 46 is undeniably one of the great psalms of the Jewish and Christian faiths. It begins with these words.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

Fast forward to verse 10 and you have the psalmist’s memorable words …
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

Many a time … right up to last night, as something quite disturbing was troubling me and I struggled to get to sleep, God’s reassuring words came once again to me. I said them prayerfully over and over: Be still and know that I am God. I sang them … finding myself reworking a short chant-like song I wrote a few years back. Somehow version 1 didn’t have enough “still”; enough “know”.

So here is the new version, Dale providing quite intentionally a subdued background vocal .. .. with a hint of harmony here and there.

Be still
Be still
Be still and know … I am God

words: Psalm 46:10
music: David MacGregor © 2020 Willow Publishing





Ride on, Jesus!

When in the States with Dale in late February, I had a retreat day … using an excellent resource by Irene Alexander that my presbytery had made possible . We were encouraged to read one of the New Testament Palm Sunday narratives, reflect on wrote it a wonderful (c) John August Swanson painting, and if we wished, do something creative with our musing. This time, this monologue came to me.
Feel free to use, with attribution.

I share it with you. It’s called Ride on, Jesus!

(C) John August Swanson


Anyone who can draw in this sort of crowd
This sort of adulation
This sort of fervour
Hey, they must be blessed!

A rock star welcome!
Jesus, ride on!

Crowds out in their multitudes
from every crevice in the Jerusalem woodwork
… stonework
to meet you
to greet you
to praise you
to worship you
to check you out

to check out this oddity
this living, breathing, polarising
Captivating conundrum
that is you
the one who rides into town
as Prince of Peace
Not warrior of war and might …
as one who mounts a donkey
as one I’ve heard Peter proclaims
as the Christ, the Lord, the Messiah
as the Son of the living God
as the one … as the one
who soon will be mounted to a cross

as one who says
turn the other cheek
as one who offers
a new commandment to love
as one who rebuts the establishment’s cries
for the cheering to cease
as one who in the middle of this jubilant mayhem
cries out: “I tell you, if they keep quiet,
the stones under your feet will cry out!”

as one who says the last and the least and the lost
will come first
first at the table
first in your new kingdom
of grace, welcome,
hope and life

as one who not only talks about God
but who is God
who not only calls us to holiness
but is holiness
who not only calls us to repentance
but is repentance
who is forgiveness

Jesus, ride on!

Jesus, God
we’ve taken in your teaching
we’ve marvelled at your miracles
we’ve wowed at your wisdom
But how could all this be?

I’m waving my palm branches
My red cloak is laid out as you come by
Red cloaks, blue cloaks, green cloaks
They’re all being waved.
Green – for life and peace
Blue – for something deep in the soul … the heart
Red – well, raising a red flag means
Sit up and take notice
Something’s happening here
Something unusual
maybe even not right
Yes, red flag for me.
This is no ordinary parade
No ordinary welcome.

Forget the soldiers, the scoffers, the skeptics
I’ve heard what they think of you …
nothing but treachery
nothing but blasphemy
nothing but insurrection
nothing but elimination

I can only tell my own story
We can only tell our own stories
When it was all hopeless
You offered my hope

When I was afraid
You offered your presence
When I felt forgotten
You brought me in
Offered welcome
Life in abundance
Life overflowing.

Is that what everyone around me
hollers about?
The latest Messiah
to get us out of our deep mess?
I’ve heard you’ll be tried
I’ve heard you’ll be betrayed
I’ve heard you’ll be ridiculed something shocking
I’ve heard – to be blunt
– they want to get rid of you
once and for all.

But that’s not all I’ve heard
I’ve heard there’s more to you
There always seems to be more to you.
That you promise a response
Like only God can offer
There always seems to be more to you.
You say the taints and torture
A deathly torture, no less
It won’t be the end
No way.
will be just the beginning.

So Jesus
Ride on
You Prince of Peace
Ride on
You healer of hearts

Ride on
You Son of God
… to your future
Not for yourself
To our future
The future of all creation

So Jesus
bring in your kingdom some more
Go to your cross
Go beyond
Save us
Love us
Free us!
Ride on, Jesus!

Ride on
faithful one

David MacGregor
Ash Wednesday, 2020

Songs of hope for tough times


A few days back, following up encouragement from others, I posted a YouTube playlist: SONGS OF HOPE FOR TOUGH TIMES. Here it is … nine songs of mine, including a few reflective instrumentals.  You may well have heard or sung some of them before.

I thought I’d include these songs:

I’ll Hold You Forever (Do Not Fear)
Reflecting on God’s constant promise in Scripture:  “Do not fear, I am with you”

We’ve lit a candle
As the coronavirus pandemic was deepening across our nation and worldwide, we joined folk lighting a candle each evening in our front window in solidarity with others doing the same, joining in solidarity and prayer.  On 22 March, churches across Scotland did just that.  A prayer was provided.  The lyrics of that prayer form the basis of this song.

Never let go
This song of wasn’t written for these COVID19 times. I wrote it almost five years ago while walking along the beach and reflecting on the fading health of a much-loved member of our community. Yet amid the struggle, I couldn’t escape the promise of my Christian faith through scripture and personal experience, that God never lets us go. Dale did a brilliant vocal, backed up on vocal and guitar by Peter, a longtime friend, himself struggling with life issues. I share it because I believe it can speak into our current times too.

Bring your peace, Lord
In part inspired by some significant well-being challenges I faced in the second half of 2015 and Stephen Foster’s profound song Hard Times (Come again, no more) I wrote this one, in the style of sorts of an American spiritual.

No other hands
Based on the words allegedly centuries ago of the Christian music, St Teresa of Avila

This one dates back about 15 years.  It’s in my humble opinion, one of the best instrumental pieces I’ve ever written.  As I wrote it I was incredibly aware of the presence of God.   It continues to evoke that presence.

Written just days ago as autumn (fall) happens in the Southern Hemisphere and as treasured customs in society start falling or straining too amid all that the coronavirus pandemic throws up.

Because the Lord’s my shepherd
This is a real “oldie”; written ca. 1979 for an all-age musical I’d written called Rock-on Goliath, based on the Old Testament David & Goliath narrative.  This one is sung by “David” and is based on Psalm 23.  Chris Macnaught played David in this production. Many years later, Chris recorded the song professionally.  He does a fantastic job.

Irish blessing
Vocals by a longtime friend Katharine McPhail, this is my setting of the much-loved words of blessing.  I’ve been touched by how many people have been blessed by this song,.

Take care.

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