Easter Day

Easter

Rainbow Cross

Suffocating night 
smothering, 
obliterating
the broken bloody body 
hammered hard, 
staining scarlet 
that cross 
of rough-cut wood

and thunder crashed 
the doom of death.

Then darkness fractured, 
light splintered, 
fragments of colour 
shot out into the brilliance 
of a multi-coloured Easter morning 
in a green garden.

And an empty cross 
rainbow-wrapped, 
images the promise 
of the death-defying dawn 
of new hope.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Quite early one morning © Andrew Pratt

A strange new day 

This is the day 
when perfume remained unopened, 
spices were no longer needed, 
cloths and sponges were unused.

This is the day 
when stone was no barrier, 
soldiers abandoned guard duty, 
grave clothes and tomb were empty. 

This is the day 
when the unexpected became reality, 
a man asked awkward questions, 
uttered unlikely proclamations.

This is the day 
when bewilderment ruled, 
fear was ever-present, 
obedience the only option.

This is the day
when women left hurriedly,
uncertain and warily,
to tell a strange story 
to an unbelieving audience, 

For they did not know it,
but this is the day 
when everything changed:
death was defeated, 
new life was beginning, 
hope overwhelming despair.

This is the day 
of resurrection.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Come in the morning

Come in the morning.
Come see the dawning.
Come to the garden –
life has broken through.

Jesus, dead and buried. 
To his grave they hurried. 
Anxious women found that 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Soldiers could not keep him 
for they were found sleepiing 
and the tomb was open – 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Peter, unbelieving, 
left, still full of grieving. 
Nothing would convince him 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Mary, greatly shaken, 
thought he had been taken.
Heard his voice that told her 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Where there was despairing, 
grief and horror sharing, 
now there is a rumour 
life has broken through.
Chorus

So God’s word is spoken, 
when our hearts are broken 
there will come a time when 
new life will break through.
Chorus

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: 6 6 6 5 and chorus 5 5 5 5 
Tune: Dance to thi’ Daddy (When the boat comes in)

Mary Magdalene

My name is Mary,
common enough in my time 
to need to be identified by place, or family.
Mine is such a name.
They call me the Magdalene.

People call me other names.
Some claim I was a prostitute, 
perhaps because the town whose name I bear 
is famous for that trade.

Others question my sanity 
and ask why it was necessary for that exorcism 
of troubling devils to be performed.
They probably call me mad.

The other followers, male, of course, 
know me as ‘one of the women’, 
useful for everyday tasks, but mainly disregarded.

So on that day -
when all hope had drained after his execution, 
the future seemed bleak and empty
and even the tomb appeared to have been raided 
and his body stolen – 
it was hardly surprising that the men ignored me,
ran back to the city and left me to weep alone.

The voice was kind and questioning 
and I sobbed my story, not expecting help.
But it came, in one word.
 ‘Mary,’ 
from one who spoke my name as if it mattered.

My name is Mary.
His name was and is and always will be, 
Jesus.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Safe, locked inside that upper room 

Safe, locked inside that upper room, 
too scared to let the truth be known, 
disciples had to see their Lord 
before that truth could be their own.

And Thomas, still so full of doubt, 
would not believe the tales they told 
till Christ appeared, to show his wounds -
then his conviction made him bold.

Yet doubts and fears returned again.
Once more they locked themselves away 
until the Holy Spirit came 
on that inspiring, vital day.

The truth is now a living fact.
The love of God can never die.
So bold apostles stood their ground – 
their living Lord is not a lie.

We have not seen, but we believe 
and we must witness by our faith 
to living truth we have received, 
awakened by the Spirit’s breath.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: LM  
Tune: NIAGARA 

Poem: When what we thought was mystery

When what we thought was mystery
is rooted in the common place,
and God is found in those who love,
and those we love by grace;
then we have grasped the Christmas story,
reached its heart, beheld its glory.
	
When scourge and cross are recognised
in images from round the earth.
When we admit complicity
and gauge compassions' dearth;
then we have grasped the Easter story,
reached its heart, and felt its glory.
	
When love and justice magnify
and even mercy has no end;
when hostages find liberty
and enemies are friends;
then we have grasped the Spirit's story,
reached its heart, expressed its glory.

Andrew Pratt © 2004 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.

Let us reach beyond the winter – a hymn for our time

 
  1 Let us reach beyond the winter
 through this dark, depressive gloom,
 may the light of Christ come shining
 into every shuttered room.
 
 2 May the sunshine of the spring time
 warm each frozen heart and mind,
 melting prejudice and anger
 by love faithful, strong and kind.
 
 3 Now profound anticipation
 wakens hope and offers grace,
 as we press, with God beside us,
 to the future we must face.
 
 4 God who shares our darkest moments,
 God of harmony and praise,
 lead us on until you greet us,
 God the goal of all our days.
 
 Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
 © 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd
 8 7 8 7
 Tune: LOVE DIVINE (Stainer)
 
 Andrew Pratt
 Words © 2004 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. 

Letter to United Methodist Church from UK Methodists

Letter to United Methodist Church – from the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church UK

https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/at-a-time-of-political-transition-for-the-us-the-presidency-writes-to-the-united-methodist-church/

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.