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.

This is the time of waiting – New Advent Hymn at a time of political change and uncertainty

This is the time of waiting,
the calm before the storm,
the time of Advent judgement,
the coming of the dawn;
a time of recollection,
of Christ’s audacious hope,
beyond imagination,
outside our human scope.

The nations will be gathered,
the age will be fulfilled,
the judgement be enacted,
as Christ had hoped and willed.
But for this consummation
such birth-pangs will be felt,
like rupturing of wine-skins,
the earth will heave and melt.

For love to be exalted,
for hatred to be banned,
our human goals must shatter,
division must be spanned.
A change of mind is needed
as we are turned around,
to move from desecration,
to find love’s solid ground.

Andrew Pratt 27/11/2018
Tune: AURELIA
Published in the Methodist Recorder 6th December 2018
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.

Deep in darkness – Advent Candle Lighting Hymn

1 Deep in darkness we begin,
dark outside and deep within.
Now ignite a single flame,
shadows form, let light remain.

2 As they gleaned the word of life,
narrative of love and strife,
people through each age have known
yet more light: God’s glory shown.

3 John the Baptist spoke out loud,
challenged that discordant crowd,
called each one toward the light,
see it growing, gleaming bright.

4 Mary wondered at her lot,
blessed?  Or cursed?  Or loved?  Or not?
Angels came and glory shone,
feel the love, let light shine on.

5 Look!  a star is shining there.
See the stable stark and bare.
Christmas dawns, all darkness gone!
Christ has come, the light shines on!
7 7 7 7  Suggested Tune: LAUDS (Wilson)
Andrew E Pratt, taken from Reclaiming Praise      

Words © 2003 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.