A topsy-turvy, upturned world – the time to make decisions – Magnificat for election time

A topsy-turvy, upturned world,
where values are distorted,
the first is last and last is first
with everything contorted.
The rich are begging at the door
while ones they were despising
are given charge of Godly wealth,
in stature they are rising.

Magnificat has come to stay,
the proud have been extinguished;
the humble poor are lifted high,
their poverty relinquished.
The reign of God has come to pass
rebutting our world’s choices,
each one that we would count as last
within this time rejoices.

And will we ever find a place
with pride and wealth rejected,
or will hypocrisy deny
our need to be accepted?
The choice is ours, the crisis dawns,
the time to make decisions,
to stand with God or walk alone
within this world’s divisions.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
8 7 8 7 D Tune: CONSTANCE (Sullivan)
Words © 2015 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.

When evil gathers in the wings – Bad things happen when good people do nothing…hymn

Bad things happen when good people do nothing…

When evil gathers in the wings
the time of crisis offers choice:
to rise with courage and resist
or keep our silence, still each voice.
What shall we do when chaos reigns,
act out God’s love? Submit to chains?

As history echoes from the past,
while memories can tend to fade,
‘lest we forget’ let us recast
the hard decisions others made:
to live the love that Christ had shown,
self sacrificial, Spirit blown.

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: ABINGDON

 

Maundy Thursday – Good Friday – Pilate

God or self? the timeless question,
greeting all of humankind.
When we meet Christ in our neighbour
God and self should be aligned.

Will we wash our hands of duty
when decisions must be made,
simply standing at on the sidelines
when the action could be played?

Will we emphasise compassion,
or the greed of our desire,
light the lamp of love among us
or extinguish hidden fire?

Will we build up walls of hatred
shielding us from human need,
or reach out with loving kindness
to the ones we ought to feed?

When we meet Christ in our neighbour
God and self should be aligned.
God or self? the timeless question,
greeting all of humankind.
Andrew Pratt 14/4/2019 After a sermon by Tim Simms
Tune: ALL FOR JESUS
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.

Brexit or how, for a church, it all came tumbling down -almost!

Nearly twenty years ago the members of a church were told that the roof was unsafe and liable to collapse.

What to do? The members had to decide.

A meeting was called. It was an open meeting for anyone who wished to attend and not just limited to members. At least five distinct solutions to the problem were suggested. These ranged from putting the roof back as it had been originally to closing the church and joining with a congregation of another denomination with which they had good relations.

Another meeting was convened for a week’s time and a representative of each scheme agreed to present their idea to this meeting for consideration.

They had to move swiftly, but it was also important to take these different groups along together. The Secretary ensured that everyone was informed at every stage and notes of meetings were posted regularly in the room where the congregation was now gathering.

At the next meeting each representative was allowed to speak for 10 minutes without interruption to put a case. Five minutes were allowed for questions. There was then a brief time for clarification where this was needed. The meeting then spent a short time in prayer. Everyone was conscious of the need to move to a workable conclusion. Each scheme was voted on in turn by a secret ballot. The votes were counted and recorded. After the vote the option with the least votes was excluded and everyone voted again. The process continued until two options were left and a final vote was taken. The decision had been made that the roof would be replaced, but in a re-designed form to prevent a further collapse.

The transition was not easy. It required listening, understanding, compromise, even empathy. Building works of this scale involve raising money, employment of professionals and a lot of hard work. The church was ultimately re-opened and, although some people felt that the wrong decision had been made they were still there to express their feelings!

And then we have Brexit!

Religious groups at their best might have something to teach us, perhaps?