Hymn in relation to the killing of George Floyd, USA

The will for domination leaves carnage in its wake,
as neighbours are berated, while peace and justice quake.
A dream once spoke of freedom, embodied hope and grace,
now all of that is challenged, with hatred in its place.

Hostility is breeding as loving is outlawed.
Hypocrisy and violence once left a saviour floored.
So what is there to save us when leaders lose all sense?
When governments are faulted, we daren’t sit on the fence?

Our common human nature, the seed of human love,
must hold us at the centre beyond the push and shove,
must live beyond this moment, must meet each human need,
when other things divide us, while neighbours die or bleed.

God bind our lives together, fulfil our living dream,
that hearts might cleave together beyond each human scheme,
that love might reign triumphant in every human heart.
Now is the time for building, the time for us to start.

Andrew Pratt 2/6/2020
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.
Metre: 7.6.7.6. D set as 13.13.13.13
Tune: AURELIA; CRUGER; PASSION CHORALE;

 

A spoke in the wheel* – after Dietrich Bonhoeffer – for today…?

Not re-invention, something new.
A rim of steel bound to a wooden hoop.
Stressed by spokes from a hub.
The whole could revolve.
An axle between, harnessed these in pairs.
A frame, a chassis, could bear the weight.
A load could be carried, easily.

Food was transported.
Building materials shifted from place to place.
Loads became heavier, more extreme.
Rolling helped.
Not all things could be hefted.
Shoulder to the wheel lads.

They pushed.

Up the hill and down again.
Down again…they could not hold.
The runaway cart they could not watch.
A hundred metres, fifty, twenty.
Nearer the children till they heard the screams.

Fear.

One person.
That’s all it took.
Spoke in the wheel.

Rumbling.
Clattering.
Shattering.
Splinters

Carnage – averted.

When will they ever learn?

Combustion.
In a chamber.
Piston reciprocating.
A turbine…
Progress? Bigger. Better?
Heftier loads.

Hurdling hedges,
winged now, cloud high.

Is it the mist blinds them?
That turns this glistering gold to dust;
that brings a different cargo now,
tossed over the side to make smithereens of all below?

A spanner in the works would save a life,
ten thousand maybe?

When will they ever learn?

But experience civilised us.
Language helps negotiation.
Jaw jaw, not war war.

The wheels of government turn, unseen.
Not covered by spats like 1930’s sports cars.
Doors close on the truth,
untruth behind the blinds…aptly named.

And rust grows, still the rust gnaws,
the squeals heard
are not really the cries of hungry children.
There is no hunger, do look the other way.

You cannot see the greed and want of power.
We have no intention to dominate and crush.
We must use your gifts carefully
sure not to share with those who might misuse or waste.

Not corruption, this is care,
We must not perpetuate old ills of profligacy.

And out of sight,
Beyond check or balance,
the wheels turn,
and who will break the spokes today?

Who will spoke the wheel…now?
Spin spanners in the works?

Who will scatter now the proud in the imagination of their hearts?

Well who?

Just who?

When will WE ever learn?

© Andrew Pratt 28/1/2020

*Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who resisted his government when he recognized, very early and very clearly, the dangers of Hitler’s regime. His first warning about the dangers of a leader who makes an idol of himself came in a radio address delivered in February 1933, just two days after Hitler took office.

In an essay written in that same year, Bonhoeffer stated that the church has the right and responsibility to ask whether the state is fulfilling its duty to preserve justice and order. He wrote that the church has the right and responsibility to aid victims of the state, even if they are not Christians. And that the church has the right and responsibility to jam the spokes of the wheel of the state if it is creating too much or too little law. Jamming the spokes, he wrote, “is not just to bind up the wounds of the victims beneath the wheel but to seize the wheel itself. (Bonhoeffer on Resistance: The Word Against the Wheel, Michael P. DeJonge Oxford, 2018,  P58)

Who rules the world just like a king?

Who rules the world just like a king
within our present time and space?
Who has the power of life and death,
of healing or withholding grace.

As politicians seek our votes,
exposing or obscuring truth,
sometimes their language loses rhyme,
while arguments become obtuse.

Just what is truth and where is love,
and what would Jesus do or say?
And how are we to follow faith
within our present time and day?

Who rules our wills, who charms our lives,
the powerful, or those hid from sight;
the weak, denied, or those abused
who hide away within the night?

The least is Jesus in our midst.
The least of these is Christ the King.
Then let the world turn upside down
the poor must rise and rule and sing.
© Andrew Pratt 27/10/2012
Tune: FULDA, GONFALON ROYAL
Metre: LM
CHRIST THE KING
Words © 2015 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.

Investing in a monolith – Government and poverty – Jesus – Temple

Investing in a monolith
that reaches to the sky
can blind us to our neighbour’s loss,
we’re deaf to hear their cry.
The infrastructure that we crave,
carves scars across the land,
where food and beauty once was found,
but can no longer stand.

The monuments we build to power
that sap a nation’s wealth,
will crumble as they leech the poor,
yet wreck our moral health.
When will we learn a quiet way,
not strident in its speech,
of love for neighbour, knowing peace
is not beyond our reach?

When will we till this common ground
we share through human birth,
that all its riches, love and joy,
may show our common worth;
each one a child, a neighbour, friend,
a partner in this life?
Then let us share in Christ-like love,
and harbour no more strife.
Andrew Pratt 13/11/2018
Reflecting on Mark 13:1-8 – Jesus and the Temple, government and poverty
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.

Tune: VOX DILECTI