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
  
   

Covid-19 hymn of Lament – Through every fighting moment and each breath

Through every fighting moment and each breath,
another burdened person nearer death;
and now we sing our prayer that life might last,
this time might be consigned, be something past.

Great God, we cling to hope when all seems lost,
we never thought that love would hold such cost;
and now our loving feels more like a shroud
to wrap the one we we love: we cry out loud!

How long, O God, must suffering prolong
this tension, is lament so very wrong?
Or is our understanding of your care
corrupt, or incomplete, bereft or bare?

Amid our swirling agony and doubt,
God hold us till the sands of time run out;
when light has gone, and darkness hovers round,
we wait the dawning of Love’s solid ground.

Written on 26th May after watching Clive Myrie (BBC reporter) in a ward with people dying of COVID-19.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-52809201/coronavirus-one-week-in-one-hospital

Words © 2020 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: PEEL CASTLE (Manx Fisherman’s Hymn); EVENTIDE (Abide with me)

Best of all is God is with us – Hymn for Wesley Day – 24th May

1 Best of all is God is with us,
God will hold and never fail.
Keep that truth when storms are raging,
God remains though faith is frail.

2 Best of all is God is with us,
life goes on and needs are met,
God is strongest in our weakness.
Love renews, will not forget.

3 Best of all is God is with us,
hearts are challenged, strangely warmed,
faith is deepened, courage strengthened,
grace received and hope reformed.

4 Best of all is God is with us,
in our joy and through our pain,
till that final acclamation:
‘life is Christ, but death is gain’.

5 Best of all is God is with us
as we scale eternal heights,
love grows stronger, undiminished;
earth grows dim by heaven’s lights.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2008 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.
Metre: 8 7 8 7
Tune: CHAPEL BRAE

Words based on those attributed to John Wesley on his death bed: ‘Best of all is God is with us’. First published in Poppies and Snowdrops available from the author.

Inderjit Bhogal – The Wilberforce Way – interview with Clare Balding – BBC

This is pertinent to the situation that we live in. Today people in this country who are different live in fear. The best we can offer to those who are different from ourselves, in whatever way, is to enable them to feel accepted and welcome and not afraid.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fpbq