Christ’s body has been broken – and sometimes by political choice…

Christ’s body has been broken,
not bread but human lives,
each family has scattered,
just memory survives;
the parents cry in anguish,
the children cry in fear,
we label them as migrant,
not wanted over here.

These are our human neighbours,
relations from our birth,
each sister, child or brother,
as one on this wide earth.
If we claim God as parent,
‘our Father’ as we say,
when will we own the the meaning
of empty words we pray?

God, help us welcome others,
God break the barriers down,
that tears may turn to laughter,
and smiles displace each frown;
then may we live together,
forgiven by your grace,
the Pentecostal promise,
one Godly human race!

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2018 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.
Metre: 7 6 7 6 D

No insurance – for Australia

These crazy flames lick and lap at all that ranges round us,
the trappings of our wealth,
experience and existence.
At birth we can’t anticipate our existential ending,
the length of life not ours to count or measure.
But then we face eternity,
or nothingness,
depending on belief.
Like night’s thief, flames hotter than hell’s painting are not some distant image,
but sharpened fronds dissembling each dwelling.
And if we leave reality says,
‘there is no return’.
Can faith uphold us through this conflagration?
Survival walks naked of all that we have known,
valued or possessed.
That is the option open to us.
Our Hobson has no choice.
So if we die we will know what rests beyond this life.
Remaining so much is loss or lost.
Whichever path we walk pray this,
pray only this,
that now and on beyond this moment
the love a letter writer once described
will hold,
enfold
and keep us still through all that is to come.
And no insurance…just the faith…

Words © Andrew Pratt 4/1/2019

Mouldy old log at the turning of the year…

Log 2

Mouldy old log at the turning of the year,
once green,
now dead,
lacking sap.

Sad year passing,
gone,
dead.

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Watch the turning,
burning of the season,
till white ash snow,
melting brings life,
again.

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Not immortality
for that mouldy old log at the turning of the year
is dead,
but new life springs fresh
forcing through cracked,
raw, hardened earth,
starting again,

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and that is what we, also,
should do…on and on…season after season…starting anew.

© Andrew Pratt 31/12/2019

Three men by a manger – Epiphany

Three men by a manger, the camels are spitting;
the inn keeper proffers a flagon of ale.
The strangers are weary, the passage was dreary,
this ship of the desert, has furled up its sail.

The stars had moved slowly, they’d hoped to be early,
our Christmas had placed them right there at the birth,
but Herod had waited, his anger not sated,
two years rambled slowly till wrath seared the earth.

It all seems a muddle, and yet we will huddle,
repeating the story from long, long ago;
what matters the timing when love sets bells chiming,
and just for this season our time can run slow.
Andrew Pratt 22/12/2019
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.

Poem for Holy Innocents – 28th December

Already reaping expectations of the choices we have made,
children wait in sundry mangers.

Families continue into exile unwelcome still at England’s door.

And does Herod wait, disguised in the pretence of wishing to join the celebration?
To usher in a new era?

Magi wait in the wings of an infant’s play bearing false gifts,
guilt covered cardboard boxes,
rich perfume to mask stale corruption.

Yet, out of this pantomime may yet emerge a deeper understanding…

Will today’s innocents survive the devastations of power, politics and greed?

Go home by another way?

Copyright Andrew Pratt 2019

Climate change song – Crises drive us from our comfort

Crises drive us from our comfort
to the edge of vital choice,
children speak the words we’ve hidden,
simple words we’ve failed to voice.
Will we listen to the judgment
warning us to change our ways,
change essential in this moment
making way for future days?

Cut the greed, this present moment
is a sacrament in time:
calls for change in our perspective,
hearing reason, mending rhyme.
Here we have just finite tenure,
stewards of this planet, earth,
handing each new generation
sacred space to come to birth.

Space and time are lent and trusted
into each receptive hand,
ours to tend, maintain and offer
clean, refreshed: each cherished land.
Yet our science says we’re wanting,
faulted in our craft and care.
May the future be forgiving
of the love we failed to share.

Andrew Pratt 8/12/2019
Inspired by Greta Thunberg

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: THE CARNIVAL IS OVER

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