A paper presented at The Salvation Army’s 4th International Theology and Ethics Symposium, Sunbury Court, 8-12 October 2014.

The IDC is grateful to each presenter for the content of this paper. The papers should be recognised as discussion papers and what is written is not necessarily the official view of The Salvation Army.


We listened and watched as The Salvation Army band marched up the rough road towards the hall. Unbidden, the words that are associated with the music came into my mind ‘See amid the winter’s snow, born for us on earth below, see the lamb of God appears, promised from eternal years…’ It sounded somewhat incongruous on a hot and sunny Christmas morning in Nairobi, Kenya. The mix of cultures was clearly evident. The Victorian British poetry had placed the incarnation of Jesus in a context that was familiar to the original hearers, but here it simply did not work because snow was highly unlikely on this, or any other, Christmas Day. Similarly, the straight lines of the march and order of the brass musical arrangement rested uneasily upon people whose musicianship is more fluid and full of improvisation. Yet the truth remains. Jesus is the promised Messiah, born for us...

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