‘Grime’, ‘Hip-Hop’ and ‘Rap’ aren’t my chanting penchants, though Fr Boyd and I (aka The ‘Min in Black’) did murder the genre once in our Christmas song ‘In It’. But Grime’s 2018 winner of best British Album and best Male Solo Artist ‘Stormzy’ got my attention. I waded through some raw tracks full of F**** bombs, on his debut album ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’, to get to the pure gold of ‘Blinded by Grace Parts 1 & 2’. Humorously, in one lyric, he encourages his mum to throw a ‘deefy’, “Mum, if you’re listening, close your ears.”
Here’s a young English Ghanaian reared in London’s Gospel & Gangland cultures, estranged from his father, but blessed by a loving mother who prays over him. Stormzy’s wrestled and worked through depression to find the professional (own label) and emotional freedom to be shod with socks & sandals and to wear his heart on his bare chest, with piercing lyrics about poverty, injustice and faith in God’s transforming power.
You fixed me, I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me”
Accepting his Brit’ awards, 24 year old Stormzy thanked God, “Every time I give the glory to God, I know it seems like such a strange thing, but if you know God you know that this is all him.”
The other man gripping my attention recently is ‘Billy Graham’, who died last week at the age of 99. Many remember the late, great Gospel preacher visiting the UK and Scotland in 1950, 1961 & 1991. At Glasgow’s Parkhead I well remember the Irvine buses we ran and some who came to faith, like Rev Jill Clancy, now a chaplain in Barlinnie and Bowhouse prisons. Through Jill’s bright witness many others have come to faith, including her mum Pam Hutcheson, a lively elder in Fullarton.
It’s reckoned that Graham reached around 2.2 billion people with the Good News of ‘New Life in Jesus Christ’. Looking at the number of hits Stormzy gets on youtube from fans and intrigued parties like me, Stormzy has a soap box platform which will also reach many millions. What opportunity and responsibility to pray for in one so young!
I love how God shares his Love and Good News through all willing to be melted, molded and moved by God’s awesome Love and amazing Grace, including a preaching pensioner, gritty grime artist, you and me, if we’re willing!?