John the Baptist – Crazy, ragged, ranting prophet

Crazy, ragged, ranting prophet,
least that’s how some people saw him,
eating locusts and wild honey,
sweeping hypocrites before him.
Standing by the raging river,
raging at unrighteous forces,
calling weak and powerful to him,
sending them on different courses.

This is one the prophets spoke of,
one to clear the way for Jesus;
humble, man of God proclaiming
judgment, grace and mercy for us.
Would we wander to that river?
Hear that vagabond still preaching?
Or would we not want that judgment,
plug our ears to his beseeching?

And today and yet tomorrow
will we take that path and follow,
one who lived through joy and sadness
who would suffer pain and sorrow?
Would we shirk the call of Jesus,
tied to selfishness or borrow,
his audacious loving kindness,
setting free to build tomorrow?

Andrew Pratt 21/11/2012 & 8/12/2018

Tune: CLONMACNOISE

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.

I give to this land

I give to this land,
and the land to me,
that down millennia God has graced:
here in the depth of this hollow oak
the satin grain,
the thornless wood,
this hall of God,
this belfry tower
the holly’s way beyond the font,
through death and suffering,
through re-birth
to Christ,
to God,
to all.

Andrew Pratt -/2/2004

To Alan Garner, Cheshire author.

This is the time of crisis

Things we know are never wholly certain,
we fathom and explore,
we test the tangled evidence
while seeking to decide.

This is the time of crisis,
of decision,
a time for making choices.

Life sometimes stutters,
moving on in stages.
At others it seems seldom interrupted.
Day to day passes without incident.

Then the cancer, infarction,
crippling us with indecision.

Death is inevitable since our birth.
But should we, as the poet wrote,
‘strive against the dying of the light’?
Or, windhover like, roll, riding on the steady air,
swing in mastery of this fluid existence?

Broken pinioned we may plummet,
God forbid.

But is it worth the struggle?
To claw heavenward,
perhaps survive,
at what present cost?

And all that now determines action will sound ephemeral,
of little consequence.

Such impulses drive the decisions we will make,
for life or death,
in love or grace.

© Andrew Pratt 30/11/2018

No armistice – Remembrance – every year

No armistice
and every day a memory,
not remembrance.
Survival’s guilt hangs heavy
like a shroud.
The frightened eyes,
the failing breath,
the flailing limbs,
I will never forget.
Never forget.
Decades pass,
yet nothing fades,
vivid as yesterday
the violence,
the carnage,
flamed on the retina
of my mind.
I hold his hand,
hear his voice,
he slips away,
is,
yet is no more,
And
at the going down of the sun
and in every blazing,
blinding moment
I will remember him.
God where is your victory?
Death, I feel your sting.
Christ!
hold me.

© Andrew Pratt

Dysfunctional people? The state of society witnessed by politics

Dysfunctional people still seeking direction,
still blindly pursuing our selfish desires,
we’re longing for certainty, vision distorted,
embers of hate blown to wild, raging fires.

Struggling persistently, stirring up prejudice,
fuelling the hatred that labels the poor;
storing our wealth, yet more grasping than giving,
hoarding what’s worthless in life’s endless store.

When will we learn that our Godless humanity
faults every plan, undermines every hope,
leaving us desolate, fearing the future,
putting the love that we crave beyond scope?

Good God forgive us, restore and renew us,
knit a community woven with grace,
help us to live held by love for each other,
here, in this moment, right here in this place.

Andrew Pratt (7/11/2018)

Reflecting on the state of society in the UK and USA following mid-term elections in the USA.
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.

How can we sing of that sad conflagration

How can we sing of that sad conflagration:
cauldron of misery, mud, gas and fire?
Young men had gone, some inspired and excited,
then all too soon hanging dead on the wire.

Here amid blood tattered, writhing humanity,
can we find Christ? Is this glorious, this death?
Here, where the best of a whole generation
gave of their all and had breathed their last breath?

They lived and died through the lie of their ‘betters’,
others had said that this war would end war.
Subsequent history unfolded the story,
showing humanity hankers for more.

God let us learn how to love every neighbour,
living our lives in the style of the cross,
valuing others as sisters and brothers,
giving our all, never counting the loss.

Then is the Spirit of Christ found among us,
then are we worthy to stand in his name,
then we can say that we truly are Christian,
love is the evidence, this is our claim.
Andrew E Pratt
Tune: STEWARDSHIP
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.
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