LENT 5 – Two Monologues and Two Hymns

Hebrews 5: 5 – 10 

Monologue: The order of Melchizedek

Melchizedek! 
Now there’s a great name for a High Priest, if ever I heard one.
Melchizedek!!
Good strong name. Starts with an ‘M’ – a thrusting letter – pushing the word out into the waiting world.
And it’s got four syllables – very impressive, that. Knocks all those single syllable names, like Tom and John and Will, for a six.
And it’s difficult to spell.
And not easy to say.
And it’s got both a ‘Z’ and a ‘K’ in it.
Certainly a magnificent name for a High Priest. 
Melchizedek!

Jesus doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive a name as that.
Very common, for his day, was the name, Jesus. Still is in many parts of the world – which comes as a shock to people who think the name is confined to only one man.
Doesn’t matter, though. ‘Cos Jesus – the Bible one - never claimed to be a High Priest. Didn’t want anything to do with that hierarchy, juggling for power and trying to make a name for themselves.
No, Jesus was just an ordinary man. Different, but ordinary. He mixed with all sorts and got a reputation for it. 
But he did know how to take on the authorities – especially the religious ones - who should have been doing a good job but were really just full of self-importance.
He really got their backs up. Which is why they made him suffer and eventually killed him.
But the irony was that, because he had given his all for God and the people, God then named Jesus as the greatest High Priest of all time – the one who would always be a way back to God for those who needed to find that.

Now that’s what a High Priest is meant to be – even if his name isn’t Melchizedek!
©Marjorie Dobson

Psalm 51: 1-12

Hymn: We each hold within us a trace of the God-head 

We each hold within us a trace of the God-head, 
the grace of forgiveness, the power to plead;
the crisis before us the choice and the challenge: 
to cultivate hatred, or nurture love’s seed.

It's not that we're guilty, You made us for goodness, 
but having the will to build up or break down.
We need to admit in the light of your presence
deception, hypocrisy – part of our ‘crown’.

And so God we worship, not courting your mercy,
but owning quite openly all that we are. 
God take us, forgive us, renew our intention, 
to live by your spirit; God heal every scar. 

Andrew 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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: 12.11.12.11
Metre: ST CATHERINE’S COURT

John 12: 20-33

Monologue: Those poor Greeks

Those poor Greeks must have got a bit of a shock.
Granted, they were in town for the Passover festival – and strange things often happened at festivals.
Granted, they were Greeks – and their thirst for knowledge was well-known and, mostly, respected.
Granted, they were curious – wanting to see this remarkable teacher.
Granted, they approached him in a respectful way – going first to Philip, who had a reputation for being open-minded and not being biased against foreigners, whether they were Jews or not.
Granted, they were probably prepared to listen to anything that Jesus had to say – however strange, or progressive it may be.
But it still must have been a shock when he suddenly started talking about death and glorification and others losing their lives for the sake of following him.
On top of all that there was the booming voice from heaven – rather indistinct to most people, who thought that it must be thunder.
But they must have been near enough to make out the words. They clearly heard Jesus say, ‘Father, glorify your name.’
And that was strange in itself. What right had he to call God ‘Father’?
Stranger still was the reply – ‘I already have and will do so again.’
What on earth did they make of that?
Did they wait long enough to hear Jesus say that when he was lifted up – even if it was in death – that he would draw all people to him?
It must have given them hope if they did – foreigners as they were.
But it could be that they’d slipped out of the crowd long before that – puzzled by what they’d heard, apprehensive of what they’d seen and needing to give the matter a great deal of thought and discussion before they made any decision about their response.
Jesus still affects people like that.
His words are not always easy to swallow.
But those who never listen, never learn.
And the truth is that the suffering and death of Jesus was inevitable.
But so was the resurrection.
©Marjorie Dobson


John 12: 20-33

Hymn: A troubled soul, the Christ of God

A troubled soul, the Christ of God, 
humanity exposed, 
with all the turmoil that we feel, 
when choices are proposed.
The monumental choice he faced, 
the crisis must be met, 
to take the path of love to death, 
or turn away, forget.

The riddle of the grain of wheat 
was told with fear and dread, 
yet mention of new fruit gives hope 
that God might raise the dead. 
The loss of life, the gain of life 
are tangled in this game, 
yet those who live in love of God 
are held within love's frame.

So Jesus chose and we must choose, 
which path we are to take, 
the one which will deny God's love 
or cause the earth to quake.
God give us courage to deny 
the self that harbours hate, 
to trust in your eternal grace, 
before it is too late.

Andrew 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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: DCM
Metre: ELLACOMBE

Ash Wednesday & Lent Hymn

A calendar will call us to share with Christ in Lent,
to walk within the darkness: some drawn, yet others sent;
and here we sense contrition, an ashen cross we bear,
reminder that the fire of love of God is everywhere.

In many different places God’s people bear the strain
of human expectation as cruel norms constrain;
for each convention sealing another person’s fate
forgive, release, give freedom before it is too late.

We witness acts of hatred dressed up as self-defence,
where vengeance is the motive hid deep in self-pretence;
great God forgive those moments, when hate and human pride
leads to the domination of those we might deride.

As Christ you suffered torment, the torture and the hate,
yet on the cross forgave them, the ones who sealed your fate,
so as we kneel confessing complicity, we pray,
great God forgive humanity when selfishness holds sway.

Andrew Pratt 15/2/2020
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.

Tune: CRUGER (Thy hand, O God has guided)