gives an early warning
TV and RADIO
ONCE again this year, BBC Radio Four has produced its own Advent Calendar. This is not one of those pictures containing 24 little windows which are opened each day to reveal a hidden tableau — it is a different sort of revelation. For ardent listeners to the Daily Service it is an early warning device fisting the hymns and readings with appropriate chapter, verse and page number to enable the listener to be fully prepared to participate.
The calendar is available on request from BBC Religious Programmes, BBC Yalding House, 152/156 Great Portland Street, London WIN 6AJ.
It provides a constructive guide and aid to preparing for Christmas during the season of Advent enabling the listener to focus on a particular theme. The theme for this coming week is "from despair to Hope."
For anyone unable to get out, or for those who want to pause in the midst of the tinsel and glitter of the commercial Christmas, the Advent Morning Services provide an ideal opportunity to think a little more deeply about the real meaning of Christmas. Even without the aid of the calendar this is fifteen minutes of the day well spent.
BBC 2 's educational programmes include a Religious studies spot on a Monday morning. This week the Aborigines were explaining their spiritual and cultural heritage. They have lived in Australia since man first walked on earth and their religion is deeply bound in with the land. For them everything came from the land, which began as a vast flat plain.
During what they called the "Dream Time" life burst forth from the land. The Digging Stick Woman walked across the plain and made springs and lakes, a snake slithered through the rock and cut the deep gorges. All animals, plants and man came from the land.
Initiation ceremonies take place in the open and care of the land is passed down through the generations, as are the locations of the sacred places. The Aborigine hunter only takes the food he needs. He knows where to find it in apparently barren terrain — he can tell what roots hide some edible grub and he can still make essential weapons
from stones, and fire from sticks.
As well as using and living from the land, the Aborigine guards and protects its. This goes a long way towards explaining the distress and outrage felt against the drilling, mining and building undertaken by white invaders who arrived from Europe a mere 200 years ago. The Aborigines say the oil drills drill into their bodies and destroy their life sources and their people. To them it is a physical and spiritual affront.
This was a clear and well explained programme which was cleverly and sympathetically filmed. Unlike many adult programmes it did not patronise viewers and yet managed to convey the religious feelings and beliefs of an alien culture in a way which enabled understanding.
Another view of the world, this time from up above rather than down under, came in Test Pilot (Monday BBC1 8pm). In the first of a new series we watched the stomach churning acrobatics of a group of young pilots who have been hand picked to take the Test Pilot course. This training will enable them to test military planes to their ultimate capacity and under all conditions. How they train will be revealed over the coming weeks. But apart from superb skills in the air they will also have to show excellent skills on the ground, as they are put through a gruelling schedule of mathematical aeronautical training too.
Sunday December 7 Good Morning Sunday Radio 4 7.30 am. Presented by Roger Royle. His guest this week is Leslie Crowther. Turning Over New Leaves Radio 4 7.50 am. A review of Sue Ryder's autobiography Child Of My Love.
Sunday Radio 4 8.15 am. Weekly look at religious news from home and abroad. Morning Service Radio 4 9.30 am From Kings Park Parish Church in Glasgow 6.40 Highway ITV Harry Secombe takes a trip through the city of Canterbury on the quiet River Stour. Seeds Of Faith Radio 4 11 pm The late Evening Office of Compline sung by the choral scholars of St John's College Cambridge.
Monday December 8 Daily Service God's Promise is our hope 10.45 am Tuesday December 9 Daily Service Human Despair: Divine Hope 10.45 Watchdog BBC! gives viewers a chance to question British Telecom, about prices, service and so on since privatisation.
Friday December 12 Daily Service Hope in God the Father 10.45 am.