Wrapped up in the silk that shines silver in moonlight – response to ‘All things bright and beautiful’

Wrapped up in the silk that shines silver in moonlight,
the cycle of life will go on day by day.
The spider devours what is needed by nature;
for life to exist death must also hold sway.

The cancer that kills through an act of mutation,
the building of love, the destruction and strife;
the things labelled ‘evil’ are part of creation,
the earth’s moving surface is needful for life.

Our eyes are half open to vast constellations,
are blind to the particles light can’t resolve,
but in them and through them the mystery beyond us:
the one we name ‘God’ makes our wisdom dissolve;

for on through our living and final destruction,
beyond deep imagining, artists might hold,
this ‘God’, this enigma, the source of our being
will love through eternity, comfort, enfold.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2015 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.
12 11 12 11
Suggested tune: STREETS OF LAREDO

At a Hymn Society Conference some years ago I was asked for a hymn in response to ‘All things bright and beautiful’ which took ‘bad’ things seriously, things like cancer. This exploration of creation of ‘bad things’, technically theodicy, followed.

Published in  More than hymns

The care of our planet, the threat of extinction – Hymn

The care of our planet, the threat of extinction,
alerts us to need to be stewards of the earth:
this place of great beauty, our God given tenure,
the place of our nurture, the globe of our birth.

This place we must guard for each new generation,
to leave as we found it or, better, restored;
to share each resource without greed or pretension,
not barring the needy, not plunder, nor hoard.

The  banquet of God is for all of God’s people,
communion companions are both rich and poor,
our ultimate end will remove all distinctions,
no birthright or creed can obstruct heaven’s door.

God’s common wealth love can encompass all nations,
but here in this place we must all make a start:
a life of acceptance of sister and brother,
the practice of loving, a God given art.

Andrew Pratt 1/5/2019
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.
Written for the 140th Anniversary of St John’s Methodist Church Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Tunes: STREETS OF LAREDO; ST CATHERINES COURT

We dedicate ourselves to exploration – science/worship compared in a hymn

We dedicate ourselves to exploration,
to sound the height and depth of Godly love,
but if we lock ourselves within our churches
what worth is it to raise our hands above?

Like those who seek in scientific research,
behind closed doors committed to their task,
we find ourselves as lost to human pleading
until we hear the things that others ask.

Each theory bears its fruit in application,
our praise makes sense when others feel God’s grace;
until that time our search, it seems, is wasted,
a stark, unholy vacuum fills this place.
Andrew Pratt 19/2/2019
Tune: INTERCESSOR

After ‘When the church of Jesus shuts its outer door’, Fred Pratt Green, and Jim Al-Khalili’s interview in The Life Scientific of Sir Gregory Winter.

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.

Galactic clouds that surf through space – Hymn

Galactic clouds that surf through space,
remote from time and art;
beyond our sense of God or grace,
can make us freeze or start.

Collisions in a cosmic void
disturb our sense of peace,
set spinning hopes and fears and dreams
distorting our belief.

For earth-bound concepts tie our minds
to this material earth,
while metaphysical extremes
are wombed, then come to birth.

A new perspective shifts and shines,
a thousand stars give light,
a supernova come and gone
to brighten faith’s dark night.

Andrew Pratt 8/1/2019 & 2/2/2019
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.

Note: A catastrophic galaxy collision could send our solar system flying into space. That’s the conclusion of new research conducted via the EAGLE Project – a comprehensive computer simulation aimed at understanding how galaxies form and evolve – conducted on some of the world’s largest supercomputers. Astrophysicists at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, working with the University of Helsinki in Finland, use data from the Eagle Project to predict a collision between our Milky Way galaxy and the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. The collision might dislodge our solar system, and send it flying, some two billion years from now. (Accessed 3/12/2019 https://earthsky.org/space/galaxy-collision-milky-way-lmc-solar-system )

Much brighter than a thousand suns – Hymn of Transfiguration

1            Much brighter than a thousand suns,
the source of life, eternal grace;
light of the cosmos and this world
now shining from a saviour’s face.
Upon the mountain’s towering height
they saw transfiguration’s light.

2            This man, this Jesus, they had known,
who called them once by Galilee,
now stood upon the mountaintop,
he seemed exalted, shining, free.
Disciples caught in stark surprise
had shielded dazzled, blinded eyes.

3            Free of the bonds of human life
and distanced by some greater power,
a strange yet mystic harmony
joined earth and heaven in this hour.
It seemed that God was very near,
inspiring awe, dispelling fear.

4            The height of love, the depth of grace,
the dazzling birth of something new,
a supernova magnified,
a stunning, startling, shining view,
for God affirmed Christ’s human worth
illuminating all the earth.

Tune: ABINGDON; SAGINA
Words Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)© 2012 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.

Indonesia/Krakatoa tsunami 23 December 2018 – a hymn for times of natural disaster

Tectonic plates beneath the ocean’s surface,
uplifted, twisting life and limb and wave.
The landscape that was home has lost its features,
destruction means that few are left to save.

An empty chair amid such devastation
where cars like toys, are lifted, spun about;
and here we wait and pray in helpless anguish;
and ‘where is God’ we want to cry and shout.

Incarnate God we need your present spirit
to live within your people at this time,
to energise our prayerful words and actions,
to offer grace to life’s discordant rhyme.

God offer hope to those who feel forsaken,
to those whose lives have spun and turned around;
to those whose grief defies all consolation,
bring grace and love and hope and solid ground.

Andrew Pratt originally written 13/3/2011
Tune: INTERCESSOR or LORD OF THE YEARS
Words © 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.
Translated into Japanese and sung on Sunday 20th March 2011 in Holy Trinity Church, Tokyo.