Lent 2 – Two poems and two hymns

 Mark 8: 31-38
  
 Challenge
  
 ‘You don’t need to do that! 
 Why do you put yourself through it? 
 It’s totally unnecessary!’
  
 Wise advice?
 Maybe – in some circumstances. 
 Self-inflicted suffering 
 doesn’t seem to make sense 
 in the everyday world.
  
 But there are times 
 when we have to face the facts – 
 ‘no gain without pain’, 
 is the old saying.
  
 Yet Jesus, 
 making his future clear to his followers, 
 discovered that even the best of them 
 had no idea of what he had to face.
 And, for all the best possible reasons, 
 Peter wanted to spare his friend 
 the horror of the predictions 
 that were being set before him.
  
 ‘Don’t tempt me, you devil!’
 What a response to give. 
 One that rocked Peter on his heels 
 and made him feel hurt and guilty.
  
 Only time would heal that wound, 
 but only as the wounds that Jesus suffered 
 were made evident to them all.
  
 The challenge to suffering for the faith goes on.
  
 And when asked, 
 ‘Why do you put yourself through it?’ 
 is our answer tinged with the temptation 
 to turn and creep away in another direction?
  
©Marjorie Dobson, This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission.
  
  
 All the pain and hurt and horror 
  
 All the pain and hurt and horror, 
 loss, denial and mistrust, 
 hovered round as Jesus waited 
 for his friends to re-adjust.
 Lost within misunderstanding:
 thought that love was just a dream, 
 knew that it would be so easy, 
 they’re confounded by Love’s scheme.
  
 Jesus taught that love would conquer 
 only through integrity, 
 that the way his life was pointing 
 tested his humanity.
 Jesus felt that Peter’s challenge 
 undermined his purpose here, 
 spoke quite harshly, underlining, 
 made his need both plain and clear.
  
 Death was now the final payment,
 Jesus spelt out to his friends.
 To them this was not expedient, 
 not the way Messiah ends.
 Love would be denied if actions 
 led to violence or defence, 
 Jesus, lamb led to the slaughter, 
 death the cost of love’s expense.
 
Andrew E Pratt 
Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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
Metre: 8.7.8.7D
Tune: LUX EOI
  

 Determination
  
 Nothing could deter him.
  
 Not religious opposition.
 Not the wily Herod. 
 Not the prophetic predictions. 
 Not the Pharisees with their plotting, 
 nor the teachers with their testing, 
 nor the disciples and their doubting.
  
 Nothing could stop him.
  
 For as Jesus wept over Jerusalem, 
 saw their persecution of prophets 
 and their future of desolation, 
 he saw his own destiny of death 
 at the hands of those 
 who set out to destroy him.
  
 Yet he moved on.
  
 And those who walked with him 
 could only fear for his life 
 and try in vain 
 to shield him from his enemies, 
 but knowing deep within their hearts
  
 he was determined to go on.
  
©Marjorie Dobson, This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission.
  
  
 Infectious faith 
  
 Infectious faith we demonstrate by action,  
 when words are lived and people feel God's grace,  
 when platitudes are kept in quiet abeyance,  
 and love expressed through every human face.  
 
 
 This is the witness we are called to offer: 
 the smile of welcome and the touch of care,  
 when every neighbour frames the Christ we honour,  
 the angel that we're greeting unaware. 
 
 
 My friend, we cannot claim to grace the Godhead 
 when those who stand in tatters at our door 
 are turned away without a moment's notice,  
 while others sleep upon a stone cold floor.  
 
 
 Our faith and love are nothing, simply empty,  
 just words we fling against a cloud filled sky,  
 when those we see derided, disregarded, 
 are left, without our protest, just to die. 
 
 Are we to be just noisy, clanging cymbals,  
 or signs of hope upon this cold, dark earth?  
 Ours is the calling now to re-imagine 
 the love of God, to sign each person's worth. 
 
 
Andrew E Pratt 
Words © 2016 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@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.
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tune: INTERCESSOR
  
   

Up! Up and away! – Ascension Hymn

Up! Up and away! Was it really that crazy?
Seems too much like magic, so hard to believe.
His ministry ended. The cross was behind him.
Disciples commissioned, so much to receive.

The Spirit was coming, the mission beginning,
the world was their parish to love and to hold.
Disciples went on in the strength of that Spirit,
a Spirit of power to inspire and enfold.

But that would come later, for now they were waiting,
in hiding, reflecting on all they had seen;
on all Jesus taught them, in words and through wonders,
in all they had heard, of whom Jesus had been.

This Jesus had promised, had challenged, encouraged,
had offered them peace that the world could not give.
And soon all the earth would be spun on it’s axis,
and we share that Spirit, in Christ we will live!

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2011 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: STREETS OF LAREDO
Metre: 12 11 12 11
As published in The Seed – http://www.seedresources.com <http://www.seedresources.com&gt;

The powerless whisper in the void

The powerless whisper in the void,
the powerful take the stage.
God give us courage and the voice
to share and speak our rage.
Then may that rage, inspired by grace,
mould, challenge and persuade,
until decision makers hear
and love those they betrayed.

When wealth is allied to the cause
of politics or class,
God give insightful empathy
to clear the misted glass,
to help us see with clearer sight,
the way another lives,
to recognise that we can change
the fate that hist’ry gives.

Give credence to the claim we make:
we share a common birth,
that all are equal under God
upon this ravaged earth.
Let actions magnify the words,
the arguments we make,
until decision makers feel
their old assumptions quake.

Andrew Pratt 1/11/2019
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.

Tune: SOLL’S SEIN; KINGSFOLD
Metre: CMD

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

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.