Am I creation’s keeper,
a steward of this earth,
a singular vocation,
to measure all its worth?
As humans we must nurture,
the land, the sea, the air,
for all we see around us
is handed to our care.
Yet lost in self-obsession,
not feeding human need,
our greatest occupation,
is meeting human greed;
we cull and kill creation,
exterminate at will,
we hanker and we hunger
for more than just our fill.
The seas become polluted,
the forests burnt or felled,
the air a noxious fluid,
its temperature not held.
The world, unfit for purpose,
destroyed by human choice?
We need to hear the prophets,
to raise up every voice.
No faith or creed or preference,
exceeds our need for life,
this planet, all its value,
will it survive our strife?
When human life has ended,
this home left scarred and torn,
will God not weep with anger,
that we were ever born?
Written 13/9/2020 while watching David Attenborough’s broadcast:
Extinction: The Facts
Andrew Pratt, 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.
Suggested Tune: SALLY GARDENS
God marks no ending, only new beginnings,
until the consummation of our lives;
God keeps no count of losses, nor of winnings:
we move through grace, the holy spirit thrives.
So as we go beyond this time, this setting,
rememb’ring all the laughter and the tears;
we go with God in faith, so not regretting
the moments shared, the hopes, the dreams, the fears.
Though parted for a while, we travel onward,
not knowing what the future has in store.
This phase will close, the spirit draws us forward,
we’ve tasted love, but God has promised more!
Words © 2006 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.
11 10 11 10 Suggested Tune: LORD OF THE YEARS
One time they would not spare the rod,
for fear to spoil the child.
But now the ones who claim to ‘know’
will spoil the child by different means,
an algorithm sets the scene
and plots where they will go.
The damage is more distant now,
detached yet pain will grow.
To this the world has been inured.
And with the placing of a life,
the ledger reconciled.
© Andrew Pratt 16/8/2020
I watched the beginning of a film of Jane Eyre. Jane was beaten. Today, still with less of a eye on the welfare of children we rarely use the rod. It has been replaced with algorithms…financial balance sheets and privilege seem to occupy the bottom line…
Fred Kaan, (1929–2009) a prolific hymn writer and ecumenist once compiled a book of hymns entitled Planting Seeds and Growing Trees. It was based on the Biblical image that that those who risk planting seeds are planting hope for the future in bleak situations. A key text began:
Were the world to end tomorrow,
would we plant a tree today?
Would we till the soil of loving,
kneel to work and rise to pray? Fred Kaan (1929-2009) © 1989 Stainer & Bell Ltd
In the current situation of COVID-19 and the devastating explosion in Beirut (4th August 2020) the following hymn, written for a tree planting, came to mind:
Cedars of Lebanon, oaks of old England,*
elegant poplars along country roads,
trees mark a heritage, hope for the future,
holding our history and bearing our loads.
So at each planting we mark a beginning,
partners with God at this moment in time,
turning the earth with renewed expectation
placing a marker and planting a sign.
Each tree puts value on present and future,
points to this moment of God given grace,
rings out the years through to new generations,
living and worshipping near to this place.
So God we offer our plans for your blessing,
grounded in all you have given and held,
nurture each tree and our lives through our living,
till life’s completion, till all trees are felled;
till we have found in our end our beginning,
purpose of life in the days that you send.
God give us strength for the tasks here before us,
God of our present and God without end.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2011 Stainer and Bell Ltd. (*Alt by author)
Might we go on planting seeds and growing trees, planting faith, growing hope.
Here we will meet to praise, with hesitation,
while conscious of our frailty and fear.
Here we will meet for prayer and meditation,
God, Spirit, ever-present, come, draw near.
Here we will raise our eyes to things above us,
while needy people break our sense of peace.
We recognise, O God, that you still love us,
but also those who clamour for release.
Here we will meet in unity of purpose,
enable us to find you in our hearts,
that we might be alive, not just a carcass,
a living, thriving body where love starts.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
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.
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tunes: HIGHWOOD; O PERFECT LOVE
As published on worship Cloud (www.worshipcloud.com)