Columba

A Cantata for Schools
by Gerry Fitzpatrick and Noel Colford
with some suggestions from David Morris

No 1

[audio:

N0 1: The story begins

chorus
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!

Verse 1:
Columba as a little boy, went to the Abbey school,
Was taught by abbot and by bard and then became a monk.
He preached the word of God to every mother, child and dad,
And so throughout the country people learned about the Lord.

Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!

Verse 2
A holy man, Columba spent some time in prayer each day;
He listened to the Gospel and he sang King David’s psalms.
He borrowed Finian’s psalmbook and he copied it at night,
Though others thought he’d need permission since he had no right.

Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!

Verse 3
‘I don’t know why there’s so much fuss about a pen and ink!
I only want to spread the holy Word of God, I think!
It surely cant be wrong to share the psalms that we’ve received,
But there were many others who did not agree with him.

Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!

Verse 4
All those who did not think like him began to get upset,
The King was forced to intervene, but this had no effect!
‘To every cow its calf,’ he said, but fighting soon began,
And sword and spear and armour once again were in demand.

Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!
Columba! Columba, so many hopes were pinned on you!

No 2 The battle and exile

The battle raged and reeled and roared on ev’ry side,
People beaten, battered and bemused.
‘To ev’ry cow its calf,’ they’d cried
but still the peace was never tried,
And families divided met in war.

O Columba, what will you do?
O Columba, what’s ahead of you?

Columba fled the country shunned by everyone,
Exiled with a dozen close companions,
Pilgrims of the Lord they found
An island in the Western Sea,
Iona, where they built their monast’ry.

O Columba, what will you do?
O Columba, what’s ahead of you?

No 3: The mission

Columba set out for Inverness
To talk to the Picts without much success
Since they locked the doors and wouldn’t speak to him.
It’s so good to praise the Lord,
It’s so good to thank the Lord,
To bless him and to glorify his name.

Columba said: ‘Friends, let’s praise the Lord.”
They shouted out with one accord!
The gates opened wide so they could walk right in!
It’s so good to praise the Lord,
It’s so good to thank the Lord,
To bless him and to glorify his name.

They said “We’re afraid of an ugly big monster,
She lives in the loch, though nobody wants her;
When she’s around then people disappear.
It’s so good to praise the Lord,
It’s so good to thank the Lord,
To bless him and to glorify his name.
Columba went out to find this beast,
Called Nessie by name; when it did appear
he showed it the cross;
It disappeared from sight!
It’s so good to praise the Lord,
It’s so good to thank the Lord,
To bless him and to glorify his name.

4 Finale

Columba taught the clansmen how to live in peace;
Brude the king was overcome by goodness.
He had learnt that love of God could make the Pictish people happy; Fighting only made the matter worse.
Great Columba! Prophet of Peace!
St Columba, pilgrim for the Lord.

Iona freed Columba from the troubled past.
Here he understood what God was saying.
Through prayer and love he softened hearts
and opened minds to look for goodness;
Love of God became a love for all.
Great Columba! Prophet of Peace!
St Columba, pilgrim for the Lord.