LENT 5 – Two Monologues and Two Hymns

Hebrews 5: 5 – 10 

Monologue: The order of Melchizedek

Melchizedek! 
Now there’s a great name for a High Priest, if ever I heard one.
Melchizedek!!
Good strong name. Starts with an ‘M’ – a thrusting letter – pushing the word out into the waiting world.
And it’s got four syllables – very impressive, that. Knocks all those single syllable names, like Tom and John and Will, for a six.
And it’s difficult to spell.
And not easy to say.
And it’s got both a ‘Z’ and a ‘K’ in it.
Certainly a magnificent name for a High Priest. 
Melchizedek!

Jesus doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive a name as that.
Very common, for his day, was the name, Jesus. Still is in many parts of the world – which comes as a shock to people who think the name is confined to only one man.
Doesn’t matter, though. ‘Cos Jesus – the Bible one - never claimed to be a High Priest. Didn’t want anything to do with that hierarchy, juggling for power and trying to make a name for themselves.
No, Jesus was just an ordinary man. Different, but ordinary. He mixed with all sorts and got a reputation for it. 
But he did know how to take on the authorities – especially the religious ones - who should have been doing a good job but were really just full of self-importance.
He really got their backs up. Which is why they made him suffer and eventually killed him.
But the irony was that, because he had given his all for God and the people, God then named Jesus as the greatest High Priest of all time – the one who would always be a way back to God for those who needed to find that.

Now that’s what a High Priest is meant to be – even if his name isn’t Melchizedek!
©Marjorie Dobson

Psalm 51: 1-12

Hymn: We each hold within us a trace of the God-head 

We each hold within us a trace of the God-head, 
the grace of forgiveness, the power to plead;
the crisis before us the choice and the challenge: 
to cultivate hatred, or nurture love’s seed.

It's not that we're guilty, You made us for goodness, 
but having the will to build up or break down.
We need to admit in the light of your presence
deception, hypocrisy – part of our ‘crown’.

And so God we worship, not courting your mercy,
but owning quite openly all that we are. 
God take us, forgive us, renew our intention, 
to live by your spirit; God heal every scar. 

Andrew Pratt
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: 12.11.12.11
Metre: ST CATHERINE’S COURT

John 12: 20-33

Monologue: Those poor Greeks

Those poor Greeks must have got a bit of a shock.
Granted, they were in town for the Passover festival – and strange things often happened at festivals.
Granted, they were Greeks – and their thirst for knowledge was well-known and, mostly, respected.
Granted, they were curious – wanting to see this remarkable teacher.
Granted, they approached him in a respectful way – going first to Philip, who had a reputation for being open-minded and not being biased against foreigners, whether they were Jews or not.
Granted, they were probably prepared to listen to anything that Jesus had to say – however strange, or progressive it may be.
But it still must have been a shock when he suddenly started talking about death and glorification and others losing their lives for the sake of following him.
On top of all that there was the booming voice from heaven – rather indistinct to most people, who thought that it must be thunder.
But they must have been near enough to make out the words. They clearly heard Jesus say, ‘Father, glorify your name.’
And that was strange in itself. What right had he to call God ‘Father’?
Stranger still was the reply – ‘I already have and will do so again.’
What on earth did they make of that?
Did they wait long enough to hear Jesus say that when he was lifted up – even if it was in death – that he would draw all people to him?
It must have given them hope if they did – foreigners as they were.
But it could be that they’d slipped out of the crowd long before that – puzzled by what they’d heard, apprehensive of what they’d seen and needing to give the matter a great deal of thought and discussion before they made any decision about their response.
Jesus still affects people like that.
His words are not always easy to swallow.
But those who never listen, never learn.
And the truth is that the suffering and death of Jesus was inevitable.
But so was the resurrection.
©Marjorie Dobson


John 12: 20-33

Hymn: A troubled soul, the Christ of God

A troubled soul, the Christ of God, 
humanity exposed, 
with all the turmoil that we feel, 
when choices are proposed.
The monumental choice he faced, 
the crisis must be met, 
to take the path of love to death, 
or turn away, forget.

The riddle of the grain of wheat 
was told with fear and dread, 
yet mention of new fruit gives hope 
that God might raise the dead. 
The loss of life, the gain of life 
are tangled in this game, 
yet those who live in love of God 
are held within love's frame.

So Jesus chose and we must choose, 
which path we are to take, 
the one which will deny God's love 
or cause the earth to quake.
God give us courage to deny 
the self that harbours hate, 
to trust in your eternal grace, 
before it is too late.

Andrew Pratt
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: DCM
Metre: ELLACOMBE

Mothering Sunday/Mothers’ Day – Two Hymns and a Dramatic Monologue

Psalm 131


God, you hold me like a mother,
Safely on her knee;
God, you hold me like a mother,
Close to you but free.

God, you watch me as I wander,
Keep me in your sight.
God, you watch me as I wander,
Hold me day and night.

God, you hold me like a mother,
Teach me to be free.
God, you hold me like a mother,
Show your love to me.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 1995 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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 ©  Also The Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 
8 5 85 Trochaic
Tune: GOD YOU HOLD ME

Luke 2:22-40

Monologue: Old folks!

Have you heard the latest about that batty old Anna?
You know - that old woman who thinks she’s a prophetess. Wanders round the Temple all day, praying all over the place. Eighty-four if she’s a day! Don’t know how she’s managed to live to that age – not with all her problems.
Did you realise that she’s been a widow for years and years and years?
It’s true. She married this man who only managed to survive for seven years and then he died and left her on her own. Mind you, if she’s always been as strange as she is now, maybe that had something to do with it.
Anyway, I was telling you the latest.
Apparently this nice young couple had brought their baby to the Temple to be dedicated. First-born boy, you see. Everybody has to do it. And they’d already had an encounter with that other strange character – Simeon, they call him. He’s one of those weird people who still believe the Messiah will come. Only he’s a bit more peculiar than the others because he believes it will happen before he dies. And it appears that he thought that day had finally arrived. I ask you!
Well, anyway, this young couple and their baby had just recovered from him praying and praising God all over their baby, when they turned round and there was Anna lying in wait for them. They certainly had their fill of odd experiences this morning. 
She didn’t exactly leap out at them. Well, you wouldn’t at her age, would you?  But she certainly made sure they wouldn’t get past her until she’d said her piece. At first I think they just thought she was one of those old dears who drool all over babies and say stupid things about how much they look like their fathers, or mothers. But she took one look and then started off on one of her praising God sessions and telling anybody who would listen that this child was a special one promised by God.
I ask you, those poor parents must have been lost for words. One old man tells them they’ve given birth to the Messiah, so he can now die happy and an even older woman starts telling the same story to anyone who couldn’t avoid her fast enough.
What a day they must have had. I’ll bet they’ll never forget it. It must be the strangest experience they’ll ever have in their lives.
But what do old people know about anything? They’re just out of date and past it. They live in a world of their own, while the rest of us get on with our business.
It’s such a stupid idea. 
Fancy thinking that a child can make any difference! Whoever heard of such a thing?
© Marjorie Dobson

Hymn: Vulnerable presence of God in creation


Vulnerable presence of God in creation, 
fragile, yes broken, in order to be;
cracking the egg of existence in birthing, 
mothering God who is setting us free.

Vulnerable God source of nature, will nurture, 
sharing our pain in the process of birth; 
bloodied, yet beautiful, changed, yet unchanging, 
passionate partner of love on this earth. 

Vulnerable God found in human relations, 
held as a baby, yes, suckled and fed; 
yet an enigma, creating and feeding, 
God is our parent, while being our bread.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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

Words and tune in Big Blue Planet & CD 
Metre: 11.10.11.10 
Tune: STEWARDSHIP




Lent 4 – Two poems and two hymns

John 3: 1-17

Poem: God so loved …

No complicated creeds, 
or self-righteous rituals.
No holy huddles, 
or raw judgements.
No insistence on conformity.

Only a call to turn around 
to find forgiveness waiting.

For at the heart of all creation 
and the core of our existence 
there is the love of God 
for errant people. 

And one special human, 
whose presence in the world 
changed all our perceptions 
of our relationship 
with the God who loves us 
so much that he gave …
Marjorie Dobson - from Unravelling the Mysteries © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019; London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns where appropriate. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd 

John 3:14-21

Hymn: Trust that God, who lit the cosmos 

Trust that God, who lit the cosmos, 
source and ground of all we are, 
demonstrated love's dimension, 
dying like the evening star, 
softened, shaded, so diminished, 
then extinguished, gone from sight, 
yet the third day rose in glory, 
bringing hope and shedding light.
	
From that day the crisis beckoned, 
those who saw that light must choose 
where to stand: with Christ in suffering? 
To accept or to refuse?
Still that challenge stands before us, 
God has given love and grace. 
Will we take the love that's offered 
or deride God in this place?
	
All our songs are crass and empty, 
all our worship hollow praise, 
if we do not love our neighbours 
that we live with in these days. 
Simple acts of loving kindness 
signal where we place our trust; 
faith without these simple actions 
slowly moulders, turns to dust.

Andrew Pratt 
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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.
8 7 8 7 D
Tune: DIM OND IESUS

Poem: Light came …

If light is good 
and darkness is bad, 
why do we have such a longing 
to run to the dark 
when we see the light of God 
entering the world?

Could it be 
that we need to hide 
and the darkness 
is our only refuge?

Yet God persists 
in flooding the world with light 
and focusing its intensity 
through Jesus.

Is it any wonder 
that a new flame 
burns in our hearts 
and fires our enthusiasm 
when we emerge from the shadows, 
as we finally recognize 
how much God loves us?
©Marjorie Dobson

Ephesians 2:1-10

Hymn: Into darkness and disaster 

Into darkness and disaster, 
swept along by what we’ve done, 
making choices that determined 
things we’ve lost and things we’ve won, 
sometimes we reflect and wonder 
at the people we’ve become.

Sometimes lost, sometimes despairing, 
feeling there is no way back 
to the way we wish we’d taken, 
knowing all the things we lack, 
we can feel so God forsaken, 
prayer is dry, resolve is slack.

Yet within the depths of sorrow, 
when there is no way ahead, 
God will reach us, grace will show us 
life beyond the tears we’ve shed; 
God will lift us, heal, forgive us, 
shield us from the things we dread.

God will build a bright tomorrow, 
light a dawn of wider scope, 
where our human strength has faltered 
God will sow the seeds of hope.
Know that, even now, God holds us, 
and will show us how to cope.

Andrew Pratt 
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: TRIUMPH (Gauntlett); ST COLUMBANUS
Metre: 8.7.8.7.8.7


Amanda Udis-Kessler has produced two items, one for Palm Sunday, the other for Easter

A Palm Sunday Hymn – Two Processions, by Amanda Udis-Kessler.

An Easter Extravaganzer – Love had a dream, by Amanda Udis-Kessler.

Clicking the links will take you to YouTube to watch and hear her work. More information can be found at here.