A calendar has called us A calendar has called us to share with Christ in Lent, to walk within the darkness: some drawn, yet others sent; and here we sense contrition, an ashen cross we bear: a sign for our remembrance, God’s love is everywhere. In many different places God's people bear the strain of human expectation as cruel norms constrain; for each convention sealing another person's fate, forgive, release, give freedom before it is too late. We witness acts of hatred dressed up as self-defence, where vengeance is the motive hid deep in self-pretence; great God, forgive those moments, when hate and human pride lead to the domination of those we might deride. As Christ you suffered torment, the torture and the hate, yet on the cross forgave them, the ones who sealed your fate, so as we kneel confessing complicity, we pray, great God, forgive our cruelty when selfishness holds sway. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2020 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Metre: 13 13 13 13 Tune: CRUGER Tangled in prejudice, lost in presumption Tangled in prejudice, lost in presumption, locked in our judgments, so sure of our ground; others are sinful, but we are the righteous, this is the truth we are sure we have found. This is our blindness and now we must own it, owning suspicion of those we deride; painting them wrongly, unjustly with hatred, side-stepping honesty, trying to hide. For like the Pharisees' we are self-serving, gaining our wealth from the ones we oppress; sometimes we bring down the ones who would challenge, this we have done and now this we confess. In this confession we seek your forgiveness, God who has touched both the broken and frail. We were thought strong, but we plead for compassion, we, the successful, have found we can fail. Yet you astound us, 'your sins are forgiven', words that have echoed down into our time. How can we warrant such scandalous mercy? Only through grace can you offer this sign. Andrew Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2011 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, email@example.com 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. Metre: 11 10 11 10 Tune: EPIPHANY HYMN; IN THE BEGINNING GOD PLAYED WITH THE PLANETS
The world's no stage where we are acting 1 The world's no stage where we are acting to show how good we think we are; this is no place to call attention, or seek acclaim from near or far. 2 Our prayers are worthless, void and empty when uttered for the crowd's applause, much more of worth are silent actions, compassion shown behind closed doors. 3 So find a place, that's quiet, secluded, a simple room where we can pray, and then in words that Jesus taught us let's seek the bread for each new day. 4 Let's join in humble prayer and fasting, while making little of the act, and then our witness, plainly worded, will add its essence to love's fact. Andrew Pratt Words © 2011 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Metre: 9 8 9 8 Tune: ST CLEMENT
The first of a selection of items by myself and Marjorie Dobson for Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week and Easter to appear regularly over the coming weeks.
Ashes come from crosses Ashes come from crosses, symbolically palm-leafed for joyful jubilation, yet shaped for betrayal and condemnation. Crosses carried last Lent as emblems of enlightenment and hand-held holiness, now tired and tainted by a year of faults and failing to follow the sacrificial example set by the crucified Christ. So ashes of symbols become badges of repentance to be warily worn, not as a display of duty to be proudly presented as an outward sign of hollow holiness, but as a reminder of those times when our hopes turn to ashes, as our welcoming of Christ’s kingdom is overwhelmed by the opinions of the crowd and easily influenced into denial and defeat. © Marjorie Dobson
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