God marks no ending, only new beginnings – Hymn/Poem – Methodist New Year – and other times of change or new-ness or loss

God marks no ending, only new beginnings,
until the consummation of our lives;
God keeps no count of losses, nor of winnings:
we move through grace, the holy spirit thrives.

So as we go beyond this time, this setting,
rememb’ring all the laughter and the tears;
we go with God in faith, so not regretting
the moments shared, the hopes, the dreams, the fears.

Though parted for a while, we travel onward,
not knowing what the future has in store.
This phase will close, the spirit draws us forward,
we’ve tasted love, but God has promised more!

Words © 2006 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.

11 10 11 10 Suggested Tune: LORD OF THE YEARS

Cedars of Lebanon – hope for Beirut, and the world in a TIME of COVID-19

Fred Kaan, (1929–2009) a prolific hymn writer and ecumenist once compiled a book of hymns entitled Planting Seeds and Growing Trees. It was based on the Biblical image that that those who risk planting seeds are planting hope for the future in bleak situations.    A key text began:

Were the world to end tomorrow,
would we plant a tree today?
Would we till the soil of loving,
kneel to work and rise to pray?                                                                                                    Fred Kaan (1929-2009)  © 1989 Stainer & Bell Ltd

In the current situation of COVID-19 and the devastating explosion in Beirut (4th August 2020) the following hymn, written for a tree planting, came to mind:

Cedars of Lebanon, oaks of old England,*
elegant poplars along country roads,
trees mark a heritage, hope for the future,
holding our history and bearing our loads.

So at each planting we mark a beginning,
partners with God at this moment in time,
turning the earth with renewed expectation
placing a marker and planting a sign.

Each tree puts value on present and future,
points to this moment of God given grace,
rings out the years through to new generations,
living and worshipping near to this place.

So God we offer our plans for your blessing,
grounded in all you have given and held,
nurture each tree and our lives through our living,
till life’s completion, till all trees are felled;

till we have found in our end our beginning,
purpose of life in the days that you send.
God give us strength for the tasks here before us,
God of our present and God without end.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2011 Stainer and Bell Ltd. (*Alt by author)

Might we go on planting seeds and growing trees, planting faith, growing hope.

 

Hymn in relation to the killing of George Floyd, USA – WITH A NEW TUNE – and AUDIO

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;

NEW TUNE SETTING BY JOHN KLEINHEKSEL

Click link for setting:  Pratt.v.Will.4.Domination.George.FloydPratt.v.Will.4.Domination.George

Click link to access audio:

Audio

 

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.