Railways / Railroads and Trains as metaphors – Part 1

A weekly blog of Ideas for Leading Creative Worship

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Railways / Railroads and Trains as metaphors – Part 1

Rock guitarist Jeff Beck died recently, which reminded me of a lovely song I found on YouTube some years ago of him playing and Rod Stewart singing – People Get Ready. How does this relate to worship? Here are the lyrics:

People Get Ready
(Words and Music: Curtis Mayfield)
• • •
People get ready
There's a train a-coming
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don't need no ticket
You just thank the Lord
• • •
People get ready
For the train to Jordan
Picking up passengers
From coast to coast
Faith is the key
Open the doors and board them
There's room for all
Among the loved and lost
• • •
There ain't no room
For the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all mankind just
To save his own
Have pity on those
Whose chances are thinner
Cause there's no hiding place
From the Kingdom's Throne


Here's a link to the song on YouTube:


Comments and questions

I saw Rod Stewart perform live at Athletic Park here in Wellington around 1979-80. His was one of the most memorable concerts I have been to because he engaged so well with the audience. He has a distinctive voice and relaxed way of singing. (He is also a skilled railway modeller!)

I really like Jeff Beck’s guitar work on this recording. His solos complement the singing, are melodic and not flashy. His playing serves the song. Notice towards the end of the song how he modulates up a key, which gives a boost and new life to the song, even as the band is playing out.

How could you use this song in worship?

Give the congregation the lyrics in print in the order of service, or on separate sheets, so they can see all three verses at once.

You could ask the congregation to say the lyrics aloud as a reading.

If you have an audio visual system, play the YouTube video. Or just play the audio through your sound system.

Having played the song, ask the congregation to spend 5 minutes discussing the recording and the lyrics with people in the pews/seats next to them.

  • What did they like?
  • What were they surprised by?
  • Did the visuals in the video help tell a story?
  • How might boarding the train in the song relate to our spiritual, faith journeys?
  • What does the song teach or remind us about God’s grace, and how we should respond to it?
  • Is there room for sinners in God’s Kingdom / the Realm of God (or as John Dominic Crossan calls it, The Dream of God)? Why?

At the end of the discussion time, ask people to share their thoughts and insights with the whole congregation.

As worship leader, you should prepare some comments and insights of your own and be ready to share them. This could lead into your sermon.

Key learning for worship leaders

Keep filling your mental worship kete / basket.

Be open to new experiences, music, video / films / documentaries, art and books. Be aware of what is happening in your communities and in the world – not just the headlines but also the underlying social trends.

Then when the time is right you can draw from your kete a spark to illustrate the key message in your next service.

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    See you next Tuesday.

    19 January 2023

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