The Parable of the Sparrow:
Should We Not Believe?

The Parable of the Sparrow song recalls the dark time in England after the Romans had abandoned the island.  It is an ancient story wherein a noble of Northumbria likens man's brief life to the flight of a sparrow into a hall & out again.

Download a piano arrangement of this parable of the sparrow, and also a guitar version with guitar tabs and chords, and listen to a video of the music (down the page).

Guitar tabs and chords for The Parable of the Sparrow song,
Guitar tabs and lyrics for

Please scroll down the page for the sheet music PDF links.

Christianity Had Disappeared

For 200 years the knowledge of Christ waned and even disappeared, as raiding Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled in Britain and gradually  displaced the native Briton population.  It was a time of bold warriors, of cold and bleak winters, of loyalty to one's liege lord, of the giving of rings of gold for deeds of courage.

Listen to this recording of a song that describes how the Good News of Christ winning salvation for all souls came again to England. (Click twice to activate the video):



The Re-Christianizing of England

Then came Christian missionaries, who sought audience with the kings to win permission to teach their message, and even to win the hearts of the English people. 

The Venerable Bede, who wrote "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People", set forth an account of one such missionary, Paulinus, who travelled to Northumbria and spoke to the king and his retainers.

Please scroll down the page for the sheet music PDF links.

The King Calls a Council

King Edwin called a council of his retainers, and heard each one in turn speak regarding the wisdom of abandoning the old gods, and cleaving to this new faith, Christianity. 

Then one man gave the following speech, in which he compared man's life to that of a sparrow flying through a hall in winter:

Man's Present Life is Like the Swift Flight of a Sparrow

The present life of man upon earth, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your ealdormen and thegns, while the fire blazes in the midst, and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. 


The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter into winter again. 


So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all. 


If, therefore, this new doctrine tells us something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.


(Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, ed. by A.M. Sellar, [1907])

Who am I trying to reach with this song containing these melancholy lyrics?   This question could actually be asked about many of the songs on this website.

I am hoping to reach young men and women and children who are moved by the power of story and song and word pictures.  That is, MOST people of imagination.  

They are those who wonder if myths describe reality, who need to know that there are TRUE myths.

I distinctly remember the heart cry of a classmate in college at SPU who appealed to a visiting C.S. Lewis scholar during SPU's very first C.S. Lewis Institute:

"Why," she said, "am I moved so deeply by the stories of Aslan, and of the world of Narnia, when my church and the stories of the Bible seem dull and unappealing?"  That was a sad indictment of her own church's teaching.

It was the stirring of the imagination, the recognition of Myth as old as Time, which roused her desire and passion.  Perhaps every generation needs a fresh awakening.

Give your children another look at the Old Story, through a new set of glasses.

Here are the lyrics in a block of text, including permission from the creator of  SingTheBibleStory.com to copy, paste, and use in your church or meeting on an overhead projector, computer, bulletin, or the like:

A king of old the Good News heard, and pondered on this strange new Word,

That God's Son fell upon His sword, and broke the Death Spell's binding cord.

 Should we not believe?  Should we not believe?

Night will come when life is done, why should we not believe?


This Hero left His heavenly hall to rescue captives held in thrall,

And chose companions great and small to reclaim souls lost in the Fall.

Should we not believe?  Should we not believe?

Night will come when life is done, why should we not believe?


And then spoke up a thane and priest, "O Lord, this news brings us relief,

And hope and joy to man and beast, to make an end to fear and grief."

Should we not believe?  Should we not believe?

Night will come when life is done, why should we not believe?


A sparrow flies in from the night, into the hall with fires bright,

Then out again, to darkest night.  Our life is like the sparrow's flight.

Should we not believe?  Should we not believe?

Night will come when life is done, why should we not believe?


Before the dark, before the cold, before the time when we grow old,

We ought to grasp this gift of gold, New Life that comes through Christ so bold.

Should we not believe?  Should we not believe?

Night will come when life is done, why should we not believe?




The links to the sheet music:


Download the guitar arrangement of the Parable of the Sparrow, "Should We Not Believe?"


Download the sheet music for the piano arrangement of "Should We Not Believe?"



Thank you for visiting!


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