Hymn – Martin Luther King – still for our time – a hymn for today – I have a dream…

 I have a dream that on a day
 not very long from now,
 all war-like weapons will be banned;
 by grace, God, show us how.
 I have a dream that love will hear
 another's crying need,
 that justice will demand we act
 in spite of race or creed.
 
 I have a dream that everyone
 upon this far-flung earth
 will see the Christ in those around,
 affirm a common worth.
 I have a dream that peace will come
 and hunger cease to be;
 within this time, this present age,
 all people will be free.
 
 I have a dream that foolish dreams
 like this might come about
 if you and I go hand in hand,
 in trust instead of doubt.
 I have a dream, come take my hand,
 the risk is worth the chance,
 the world will spin, turn upside down
 if we join heaven's dance.
 
 Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
 
 Words © 2015 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. 
 Hope Publishing in the USA
 From More than hymns 
 Metre: CMD
 Tune: KINSFOLD

Rebuilding starts with weeping – Amanda Udis – Kessler

US hymnwriter and sacred music composer Amanda Udis-Kessler wrote the following text just after the 2020 election and has re-shared it following the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. I have asked and been granted permission to reproduce it here. It is pertinent in the US context but also in the UK and Europe through pandemic and Brexit. Do visit her site - link below.
Rebuilding starts with weeping, with tears that fall like rain,  
With full and honest grieving for years of loss and pain,  
For suffering and sorrow that never had to be.  
Rebuilding starts with weeping for all who are not free.  
  
Rebuilding starts with praying, with hopes allowed a voice,   
With visions for our country, with reason to rejoice.  
We offer up our spirits, our hearts and minds and hands.  
Rebuilding starts with praying for strength to heal our land.  
  
Rebuilding starts with loving, with care for every soul,   
With yearning in compassion that all may yet be whole,  
That enemy and neighbor may know a better day. 
Rebuilding starts with loving, for love will show the way 


It is most often sung to the Bach Passion Chorale.

Amanda’s many other inclusive hymns, worship songs, and rounds are freely available for listening and download at https://queersacredmusic.com

God’s on our side

Twenty years ago this year the USA, and with it the world, was shaken with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. This exacerbated the polarisation of faith traditions and ideologies across the globe. Tensions increased and an ‘us and them’ mentality, already present, was exaggerated by political posturing, understandable, to a degree, in the light of what had happened. Broken bridges have still not been rebuilt but today those labelled enemies in Western nations are as much within as outside out borders and reconciliation is still needed. Ideologies are in tension with each other and this is overlaid by the threat of a pandemic. Global cooperation has never been more necessary. A hymn I wrote in 2001 within 24 hours of 9/11 is perhaps still pertinent…those we label or sense to be enemies inhabit the fabric of our own politics. Their actions are not as obvious but just as damaging…trust is at a premium…

1 God's on our side, and God will grieve
 
at carnage, loss and death;
 
for Jesus wept, and we will weep
 
with every grieving breath.
 
 

2 God's on their side, the enemy,
 
the ones we would despise;
 
God quench our vengeance, still our pride,
 
don't let our anger rise.
 
 

3 God's on each side, God loves us all,
 
and through our hurt and pain
 G
od shares the anguish, nail scarred hands
 
reach out?love must remain.
 
 

4 God show us how to reconcile
 
each difference and fear,
 
that we might learn to love again
 
and dry the other's tear.
 
 

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
 © 2001 Stainer and Bell Ltd., please include any use on your CCL Licence return or contact Stainer & Bell via www.stainer.co.uk. Administered in the USA by Hope Publishing. 
Tunes: AMAZING GRACE; BASIE (Kleinheksel)

Some of the poetry in Words, Images and Imagination are perhaps pertinent to this situation…

Thoughts on ‘welkin‘and ‘Hark the herald angels sing’

The Methodist blog has recently had this entry and I thank Judith Simms for drawing it to my attention

https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/the-methodist-blog/wesley-gutenberg-and-hark-the-herald-angels-sing/?utm_source=Methodist+Church+House&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=12049891_The+Methodist+News&dm_i=BVI%2C769R7%2C3Y9PI2%2CT20HZ%2C1&fbclid=IwAR2ZrvGQN0cuyKxqXFCDpStjc27GmES5Ma0k1ylxe4i4gvup5o4sPBi24AU

This is interesting but while the change of ‘welkin’ has been remarked on before I do not concur with Ted Campbell’s admiration for Whitfield. The amendment alters the meaning of the hymn as Wesley originally penned it. Firmament today would be better understood as ‘cosmos’. The word ‘cosmos’, creation, ringing is much more powerful and incarnationally significant than angel song. Charles Wesley write swiftly but chose words with great care. I wonder if we have his reflection on this amendment?

For a continuing time of COVID – HYMN/PRAYER – When the weeping of the nations

 When the weeping of the nations 
 fills our hearts with holy dread, 
 when a virus rings with pity 
 those who cannot reach their dead,
 God is in our consternation, 
 weeping by each sufferer’s bed. 
  
 Distanced, lacking human comfort,
 no more in a mother’s arms, 
 fearful faces peer through visors 
 watching, even breathing harms, 
 knowing only humane kindness 
 brings the peace that heals, disarms. 
 
 God bring strength in human weakness, 
 give us grace that we might see 
 through the mists of mortal blindness 
 how to live through agony, 
 how through quiet compassion, silence, 
 we might mark our empathy.

Andrew Pratt 31/12/2020
Words © 2021 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: PICARDY    Metre: 87 87 87