US hymnwriter and sacred music composer Amanda Udis-Kessler wrote the following text just after the 2020 election and has re-shared it following the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. I have asked and been granted permission to reproduce it here. It is pertinent in the US context but also in the UK and Europe through pandemic and Brexit. Do visit her site - link below.
Rebuilding starts with weeping, with tears that fall like rain,
With full and honest grieving for years of loss and pain,
For suffering and sorrow that never had to be.
Rebuilding starts with weeping for all who are not free.
Rebuilding starts with praying, with hopes allowed a voice,
With visions for our country, with reason to rejoice.
We offer up our spirits, our hearts and minds and hands.
Rebuilding starts with praying for strength to heal our land.
Rebuilding starts with loving, with care for every soul,
With yearning in compassion that all may yet be whole,
That enemy and neighbor may know a better day.
Rebuilding starts with loving, for love will show the way
It is most often sung to the Bach Passion Chorale.
Amanda’s many other inclusive hymns, worship songs, and rounds are freely available for listening and download at https://queersacredmusic.com.
Great God, your love has held our lives
through all the years down to this day.
Your constant presence held us fast:
remain with us we plead and pray.
We’ve seen the ruins left by war,
the tumbled buildings, street by street;
some heard the voices that they loved
and cried for those they’d no more meet.
As time moves on some memories fade,
some griefs we shared lie in the past;
for others pain is just as sharp,
we know their hurt will always last.
Some human acts have swept away
our partners, parents, children, friends,
some people we had never known;
the memory lives and never ends.
Beyond this day we try to live:
a sinew of each life survives,
but where is God in hurt and hate?
The questions stay to haunt our lives.
Help us to build a better world
not fuelled by vengeance, fed by greed;
a world in which we all can live,
what ever colour, race or creed.
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.
This article by L. Roger Owens is an interesting reflection for those who are finding the ban on singing in church problematic –
The pandemic calls for closed hymnals
L. Roger Owens teaches Christian spirituality and ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is author of Threshold of Discovery: A Field Guide to Spirituality in Midlife
Beautiful music for a time of lockdown – soothing – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSyzRn2Jmuo&mc_cid=4e79d8733c&mc_eid=74ccc3627b
|Last week, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the Choir of Royal Holloway and soprano Laura Wright released a single by award-winning composer Thomas Hewitt Jones and lyricist Matt Harvey.
On Tuesday, Thomas asked if we (Stainer & Bell Ltd) could make a voice and piano arrangement available for sale in download and printed formats. We were delighted to help and in just a few hours managed to produce, publish and begin taking orders.
By the following day, the song had received over 150k views on Facebook and YouTube and it had gone straight in at number one in the iTunes Classical Singles chart.
The voice and piano arrangement is available here and full choral arrangements of the hit song will appear shortly.
The group are donating all proceeds from the track to Stay Strong, a campaign that aims to connect those suffering from various mental health issues during the coronavirus lockdown with relevant charities.
If you haven’t heard this before take a listen – it is beautiful, comforting, uplifting
Follow them at https://m.facebook.com/brightwingschorus/