Progressive religion – thoughts

Progressive Religion is an expression of faith held within the phrase: ‘Nothing Fixed or Final’.*
This is a creed in that Progressive Religion is not without belief, but that belief is always provisional because we are human. It involves a seeking after truth with the humility to admit that if we think we have found such truth, and we are tempted to frame and dogmatise it, then we have missed the point. Our understanding can never be complete, is always dynamic, always subject to change.
Progressive theology is predicated on the provisional nature of this religion and cannot ever be rooted in only one religious expression. While it may draw conclusions these are always open to critique, modification, change or even ultimately abandonment.
Progressive worship gives expression to such theology and it is the nature of liturgy and worship that they are not simply dependent on this theology, but are also the crucibles in which such theology is explored and sometimes formed.
*Sidney Carter once said that his creed was ‘Nothing Fixed or Final’ and I have found this has held for me thus far.

Investing in a monolith – Government and poverty – Jesus – Temple

Investing in a monolith
that reaches to the sky
can blind us to our neighbour’s loss,
we’re deaf to hear their cry.
The infrastructure that we crave,
carves scars across the land,
where food and beauty once was found,
but can no longer stand.

The monuments we build to power
that sap a nation’s wealth,
will crumble as they leech the poor,
yet wreck our moral health.
When will we learn a quiet way,
not strident in its speech,
of love for neighbour, knowing peace
is not beyond our reach?

When will we till this common ground
we share through human birth,
that all its riches, love and joy,
may show our common worth;
each one a child, a neighbour, friend,
a partner in this life?
Then let us share in Christ-like love,
and harbour no more strife.
Andrew Pratt 13/11/2018
Reflecting on Mark 13:1-8 – Jesus and the Temple, government and poverty
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.

Tune: VOX DILECTI

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

When will we see all people just as people

When will we see all people just as people
devoid of labels, prejudice and fear?
When can we love our neighbours without limit,
not loving just the ones to whom we’re near?

When can we share the grace of God more simply,
not clouded by theology or fudge,
in order that the world may sense the presence
of Christ in love, and not some frowning judge?

God give to us audacity and courage
to grasp each nettle, risking others’ sting,
until the love that binds us all together
will hold us in one vast unbroken ring.

Andrew Pratt

Words © 2018 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, 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 in response to the Methodist Conference Marriage and Relationships Report having been delayed, as we were informed at Synod due to ‘unforeseen circmstances’.

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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