When faith has lost its energy – learning brings about challenge and change

When faith has lost its energy
and hearts have turned to stone,
communities are lacking love,
and prayer is said alone,
we cling to old, familiar things,
firm routed in the past,
not knowing that rigidity
ensures faith will not last.

To challenge frozen certainty
a fiery Spirit came,
to melt the hearts that sadness killed,
to mend a sagging frame.
Tradition smeared our faith with rust,
we clung to what we knew.
We felt that any change that came
would leave us fraught and few.

A lost, bedraggled remnant feared,
our cherished gift once sold,
would leave our worship cold, bereft,
devalued, rank and old;
such change would lead to darkened skies,
a deep and feared unknown,
diminishing our treasure trove,
all we had left to own.

Another generation then
would gasp in disbelief,
as though God’s loving, faith and care,
was plundered by a thief!
By holding on so tightly then,
we missed the vital chance,
to grasp God’s wonder, grace and love:
we hardly caught a glance.
Andrew Pratt 18/10/2019

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.
Tunes: ELLACOMBE; VOX DILECTI
Metre: CMD

Human searching started early – https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

Human searching started early,
when our mortal race began.
Curiosity was questing:
was life caused by chance or plan?
Science, like a lens, can focus
on components of God’s grace,
guiding us to ask more questions,
help us on the path we trace.

Scientific understanding
offers insight that can stun,
change perspective, alter meaning,
help imagination run.
How we read religious scripture,
things our context has imbued,
can enhance or muddle insight,
warp the way our faith is viewed.

Even tangled vegetation
smoth’ring ground on which we tread,
or the stars that light the cosmos
heighten wonder as they spread.
At our best God’s spirit shows us
from the earth, beyond the sky,
all creation’s awesome wonder,
filled with praise, while we reply!

Andrew Pratt 5/10/2019
Tune: CALON LAN
Metre: 8.7.8.7 D
Written in response to Dr Ruth Bancewicz’s seminar on ‘All creation praises God’.
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.

Love matters for our future https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

Love matters for our future,
love founded in our past;
love woven through the present,
in hope that love will last.
This love is simply, human,
profoundly, love divine;
yet love can change another,
change lives like yours and mine

While we prefer the comfort
of minds akin to ours,
the gentle reassurance
of quiet refreshing hours;
in hell and not in heaven is
where the Christ is found,
the rough and trammeled pathway,
the trampled, bloodied ground.

But can we love another
and freely offer grace,
regardless of the neighbour
within our human race?
To always be uplifting,
to love and not condemn,
will model every person
as us and not as them.

Andrew Pratt 28/9/2019 – Science and the Language of Prayer. Written in response to Ruth Armstrong’s lecture. Seminar 1. Criminology.
Tune:AURELIA
Metre: 7.6.7.6D
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.

A patchwork of knowledge of science and praise https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

A patchwork of knowledge of science and praise,
exploring creation while numbering our days,
yet each can confound us, with challenge or choice,
unsettle or change us, give cause to rejoice.

Each discipline offers perspective and view,
some narrow, abandoned or followed by few,
our relative thinking, experience and ways,
maintaining a template for prayer and for praise.

Andrew Pratt 28/9/2019
Tune: ST DEINIO
Metre: 11.11.11.11
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.

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