Covid-19 hymn of Lament – Through every fighting moment and each breath

Through every fighting moment and each breath,
another burdened person nearer death;
and now we sing our prayer that life might last,
this time might be consigned, be something past.

Great God, we cling to hope when all seems lost,
we never thought that love would hold such cost;
and now our loving feels more like a shroud
to wrap the one we we love: we cry out loud!

How long, O God, must suffering prolong
this tension, is lament so very wrong?
Or is our understanding of your care
corrupt, or incomplete, bereft or bare?

Amid our swirling agony and doubt,
God hold us till the sands of time run out;
when light has gone, and darkness hovers round,
we wait the dawning of Love’s solid ground.

Written on 26th May after watching Clive Myrie (BBC reporter) in a ward with people dying of COVID-19.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-52809201/coronavirus-one-week-in-one-hospital

Words © 2020 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.
Tunes: PEEL CASTLE (Manx Fisherman’s Hymn); EVENTIDE (Abide with me)

Life now with Covid-19 – We cannot see the future (hymn/poem)

We cannot see the future,
nor live as in the past,
our time the present moment,
yet know this will not last.
But can a human construct
give answers or make sense
as everyone will struggle
with this, the present tense?

Our understanding staggers,
but what can history prove?
What scripture has a message
to help us rest or move?
The wilderness was testing
a place to learn and think,
a sudden unthought action
might push us to the brink.

So in this present moment
the greatest gift is time,
a time of recollection
before life’s upward climb.
And can our faith sustain us?
Or simple human love?
While waiting in the valley
we lift our eyes above.

The heavens will not answer,
but through each silent night
the stars might make us wonder
at their insistent light.
We live within an instant,
as finite as our breath,
suspended in a moment
between our life and death.

What matters in this moment
is how we love and live,
is how we treat each other,
of how we share and give;
to speculate is pointless,
this is the earth we know,
this edifice of living:
what will OUR loving show?

Andrew Pratt 5/5/2020
Words © 2020 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.
Tunes: THORNBURY; CRUGER

Now is the coda of our time – hymn, lyrical poem when confronting death

Now is the coda of our time
with those we value most on earth,
may we fulfil our finite role
and love confirm our deepest worth.

This chorus that we joined at birth:
life’s gentle, joyful, solemn song,
expresses all that life contains
of gifted good to chosen wrong.

Then, as we sense that life will end,
the closing bars should speak of joy,
uplifted by our faith and hope
let us enhance, and not destroy.

So let the melody go on,
until we grasp our final breath,
as healing interweaves such love:
God’s counterpoint to human death.

Andrew Pratt 5/5/2020
Words © 2020 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: ABENDS

Poem for VE Day

My Father died 47 years ago. He had served in the 8th Army seeing action at El Alamein. This is not meant to be his story but reflecting, while there was sense in celebration when bombs stopped dropping on England, perhaps we might celebrate in 2020 with care. I guess my father, and others like him had not been demobbed. He didn’t talk much about his war. He had firm friends. Some had died. When he came home he had a nervous breakdown – post-traumatic stress? Some years later he was chronically and then terminally ill dying at the age of sixty. My mother died at the same age one year later. How much of this was an aftermath of war I’ll never know. I do know that in the fifties it was common to see men who had lost limbs not being lauded as paralympic athletes. Some things have changed…thank God…

They sent him home, a broken man,
each nerve and sinew torn or strained
and what was celebrated then
he recognised as little gained.

The trauma of that noise and strife,
the shattered buildings, tear torn lives,
with stunned, dismembered memories,
and, though he struggled, each survives.

The shell-shocked post-traumatic stress,
his past so vivid, sharpened, bright,
has left him stumbling through a void,
toward a mist enshrouded night.

*****************************

And now as we look back this day,
into a past that some have known,
may we revere the ones we see,
and recognise the grief they own.

And deeper truths must still be learned:
that no dispute is worth a life,
that peace and justice, kindness, love,
must bring an end to earthly strife.

© Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

AUDIO – © Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

Where is the care for the silent care-giver?

Where is the care for the silent care-giver,
drowning in tragedy, lost or alone?
Where is our God in such life and such living?
Here in our pain, or remote on some throne?

God, are you deaf to our crying, our pleading?
Why are you absent when we feel so lost?
Come to the centre of need and exhaustion,
help us feel valued, while sharing the cost.

Here in frustration, in folly, when kindness
seems to be hollow, not grasping the fact:
inside our hearts may be broken or dying.
God bring your mending to lives that have cracked.

Then for tomorrow may hope that is buried
push through our anger, our darkness and night,
opening our hearts to divine love and healing,
leading from hopelessness out into light.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Tune: STEWARDSHIP
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Words © 2014 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.