In November of 2021 my Dad, Melvin Tinker, was promoted to glory. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 6 weeks before.
When he received the diagnosis he wrote to us saying:
“Isaiah 43 is of great comfort and am at peace.
Maybe the last chapter will be the best yet.
Your loving Dad”
I started to take notes of the conversations that we were having as we chatted about what awaits us, what the new heaven on the new earth will be like. It was a painful time, but also such a privilege to watch his vision become increasingly filled with Jesus. ‘He is stripping away the dross…” he later wrote to me.
I wrote one song based on these conversations before Dad died, and he asked that it be played at his funeral. After that I starting writing more and more. Sometimes reflecting our conversations, other times expressing what I was feeling, the questions I had, the hope that I clung to through the tears. These songs form the album ‘When There Are No Words‘. The artwork is by the wonderful Jamin Still and speaks to me of life being so precarious, and yet there is hope over the horizon.
As an artist I not only want to speak for myself, but I hope in telling my story others may own it for themselves and it will help them understand their story.
Listen to the first single from the album, below:
Through 2023 we we will take these songs on tour. My desire is that the shows, or rather events, would be a place that people can come and explore their own grief and see the hope of the gospel shining through, even as those rays are diffused through the prism of tears.
The Live Show
“An engaging and moving evening of live music. Highly professional, very impressive, and much enjoyed. The first thing someone said was ‘Can we book them again for next year’. I felt the same. Michael’s songs encourage and strengthen the faith while engaging the hearts of those who have yet to turn to Christ. Many were moved and profoundly thankful for his ministry.”
(St Mary’s Wollaton Park, Nottingham)
‘”We weren’t sure what to expect with this event, we loved the idea, but songs on the theme of grief, sounded tough as well as helpful! But persist we did, and what followed was an evening richly knit together with sensitivity, deep theology and hope. I came away from the evening with words of appreciation from across our church family. Strongly recommended.”
(Grace Church, Ryde)
“We hosted Michael J Tinker for a performance of “When There Are No Words” for our week of outreach mission events and were really amazed at how the Lord used Michael’s musical talent, pastoral sensitivity, and clear understanding of the audience to carefully tell the story of finding hope amid grief and to take us on that journey. Grief is something that affects all people and is the great equaliser – it cuts across class, age, education. All people are looking for hope at a time of heartache – which is why “When there are no words” is so effective. People who have said “no” to every type of invitation to church said “yes” when invited to “When there are no words”. Michael effectively tapped into the emotions we all have when thinking about the loss of a loved one but didn’t ever lever or manipulate his audience or drift into sentimental easy cliched answers. As a pastor who was modestly wondering “would this work for a guest event?” I was really blow away with the response we received from guests who were moved by the performance and who have now come along to church in response. A big thank you to Michael for sharing his experience of grief and his heart with our church and community!”
(Jersey Baptist Church)