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What is hell, if not the anguish – Advent 2

What is hell, if not the anguish
heaped on those whom humankind
treat with hatred and derision,
harsh disdain that we’ve refined?

Images of fire and torture
stalk among us while we live,
not in some dark, distant future,
but in love we fail to give.

So the cry of disaffected,
disregarded human souls,
indicate the dereliction
chosen through our human polls.

We are architects of anguish
when we seek to put aside,
love of those God calls our neighbour,
those ignored that we deride.

Andrew Pratt 4/12/2019
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Matthew 3: 1-12
Psalm 88

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed – a hymn for love and unity

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed,
to join her in her suffering, to plead with him in need.
This love will always question, will search out right and wrong,
will give itself for justice, for those who don’t belong.
This love will never falter, till every soul is free,
till nations held in bondage can sing of liberty.

Through scenes of devastation, through famine, drought and war,
we’ll work in ways of gentleness, work hard till we restore
the vision of the people, the hope of human grace,
till nations dwell in peacefulness together in this place;
till all the world together can sing in joyful praise
till all have found communion together in our days.

Andrew E. Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
13 13 13 13 13 13
Tune: THAXTED

No one knows the hour or moment – Advent 1 Hymn

No one knows the hour or moment.
See, the sky is turning dark,
all this world is fraught with chaos,
each decision tense, or stark.

Hear the thunder in the distance,
war clouds gather, masking grace.
Tension gathers in the present
threatening the human race.

Where is love when love is wanting?
Where is hope? Not close at hand?
Is God in the wings still waiting?
Hear our cry within this land!
Andrew Pratt 28/11/2017 Inspired by Mark 13:24-37 and parallels
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Tune: ALL FOR JESUS

In the Bible sinful action sees God’s punishment unfurled – https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

In the Bible sinful action
sees God’s punishment unfurled.
Seismic faults can find their reason
in God’s shaking of the world.
Dualism, human freedom,
‘best of all’ this fractured earth?
Does God punish us for actions
which negate our human worth?

But today does retribution,
witnessed through earth’s fractured crust,
make much sense of God in action
when our cities turn to dust?
Do our people crushed and broken
act as warning, point to God?
Or is good news, clouded, hidden,
buried deep beneath the sod?

Much like Job, we seek an answer,
craft theology with care,
looking for a simple reason,
find new scapegoats standing there.
If we were more deeply honest
we might find it’s Christ who dies,
God who suffers in the present
when we hide behind our lies.

When we value wealth or nation,
see resources to be owned,
see the poor as simple objects,
their humanity dethroned;
then what may be seen as natural
rests on our incompetence,
or on human greed and evil
and on loving’s reticence.

Tune: LUX EOI (StF 400/764)
or ABBOTSLEIGH (UMC 584)
Metre: 8.7.8.7 D

Written in response to Rev’d Professor David Chester’s Seminar on Earthquakes, Volcanoes and God: Theological Perspectives on Natural Disaster
Andrew Pratt, Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.