Lent 1 – Three hymns and a poem

 He could have walked the easy road 
  
 He could have walked the easy road 
 to fortune and to fame.
 He knew he could work miracles, 
 to heal the blind and lame.
 He could have fed the starving poor 
 with fish as well as bread.
 But Jesus knew that life held more 
 and chose God’s word instead.
  
 He could have trusted angels’ wings, 
 up on that Temple tower. 
 To save him from a fall to death 
 was well within God’s power.
 The people would have marvelled then 
 and guessed this was God’s son.
 But Jesus would not take the test 
 to prove he was that one.
  
 He could have taken full control, 
 the world lay at his feet.
 He only had to say the word: 
 his rule would be complete.
 The mountain view had caught his breath..
 Power was a word away. 
 But Jesus turned back from it all 
 and God had won the day.
  
Marjorie Dobson 
Words © 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.
Metre: CMDTune: KINGSFOLD
  
Poem: The time has come
  
 As John had said, 
 ‘the time has come.’
 So Jesus, 
 bowing to the Jordan’s waves 
 and rising to the words 
 ‘beloved Son’ 
 and ‘well pleased,’ 
 was willing to be made ready, 
 by desert trial, 
 to take his place 
 in the unfolding story 
 of God’s love.
  
 But John 
 was soon in prison 
 for speaking out 
 too loud and long 
 for the comfort of the king.
 And Jesus, 
 fresh from temptation 
 and life-changing choices, 
 set off for Galilee, 
 knowing that now was his time 
 to spread good news 
 and bring the kingdom of God 
 to the people for whom 
 it had always been intended.
  
 No more waitng.
 No more preparation. 
 Time to go …
 ©Marjorie Dobson
  
 Jesus met supreme temptation 
  
 Jesus met supreme temptation, 
 countered subtlety with skill; 
 ever faithful to one purpose, 
 still committed to God's will.
             
 With no food he soon was famished, 
 hunger racked him, filled his mind, 
 then a voice had come to taunt him, 
 'bread is there for you to find'.
             
 Each illusion he would parry, 
 each temptation run to ground; 
 all the world was for the asking, 
 yet his faith was strong and sound.
             
 Every miracle and wonder 
 he was tempted to perform
 he rebutted, held the tension;
 he would live beyond this storm.
             
 And when we meet with temptation, 
 save us from each trial and test; 
 strengthen faith, God, give us courage, 
 help us strive toward the best.
 
Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2010 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 7
Tune: LOVE DIVINE (Stainer)
  
 As glass will take the light – FOR COMMUNION
  
 As glass will take the light
 and focus all its heat;
 here in the water, wine and bread
 we find God's grace complete.
 
 We met God's presence here,
 our promises were sealed;
 but all is lost, is null and void,
 if love is kept concealed.
             
 So in God's peace we go,
 and in the Spirit's power,
 to offer love in word and deed
 in every coming hour.
 
Andrew E Pratt           
© Words © 1997 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: SM
Tune: CARLISLE
  
  
   

LENT – POEMS AND SONG TO SET THE SCENE – THINK AGAIN; EMPTY WORDS; SPIRITED DANCER

 Think again
  
 If the extent 
 of our sacrificial content 
 is to give up chocolate for Lent, 
 what kind of a sacrifice is that?
  
 If the inclination 
 of our celebration 
 is for a self-centred commemoration 
 for the current congregation, 
 what good is that to God,
 or anyone else?
  
 If a Holy Day 
 becomes a holiday 
 with the holiness left out, 
 where has the significance gone?
  
 God sighs for the real sacrifice 
 of working to eliminate poverty and injustice.
  
 God craves for the genuine celebrations 
 of people set free and of changed lives.
  
 God holds out hope 
 for those who make holiness their aim, 
 however far they still have to travel.
  
 God asks us to think again.
 © Marjorie Dobson 

  
 Empty words 

 Empty words
 from those who live in luxury 
 and despise the poor.
 Empty words 
 from those who enquire after the sick, 
 but never visit them.
 Empty words 
 from those who offer hollow sympathy, 
 but never weep with those in sorrow.
 Empty words 
 from those who are severely critical 
 of local and national governments, 
 but refuse to vote, 
 or to become involved in politics.
 Empty words 
 from those who proclaim themselves 
 to be Christians, 
 but only take care of themselves 
 and their own kind.
 Empty words 
 from those who preach 
 of suffering and sacrifice, 
 but have never challenged themselves 
 to experience either.
 Empty words from those … …
 Empty words … …
 Empty … …
  
 And God, 
 who knows our hearts, 
 looks on 
 and asks us to look again 
 at the sacrificial love of Jesus 
 and to fill our empty words 
 with love and action.
 Marjorie Dobson 
 Words © 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. 
 Spirited dancer

 Spirited dancer, a pantomime figure,
 comic, distorted, misused and abused;
 never expedient, yet working with rigour,
 seemingly foolish yet never confused.
 
 Crying the wilderness down on your shoulders,
 offering pedants the cool time of day;
 I would dance with you, by paths or rough boulders,
 willing to enter the fun or the fray.
 
 Now in my cowardice, fear, apprehension,
 sharing the life that you've given to me;
 help me to put away pride and pretension,
 learn in your footsteps the way to be free.
 
Andrew E. Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003, 2006 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: WAS LEBET, WAS SCHWEBET; QUEDLINBURG 

ASH WEDNESDAY – The world’s no stage where we are acting

 
 
The world's no stage where we are acting
  
 1          The world's no stage where we are acting 
             to show how good we think we are; 
             this is no place to call attention, 
             or seek acclaim from near or far.
             
 2          Our prayers are worthless, void and empty  
             when uttered for the crowd's applause, 
             much more of worth are silent actions, 
             compassion shown behind closed doors.
             
 3          So find a place, that's quiet, secluded, 
             a simple room where we can pray, 
             and then in words that Jesus taught us 
             let's seek the bread for each new day.
             
 4          Let's join in humble prayer and fasting,
             while making little of the act, 
             and then our witness, plainly worded, 
             will add its essence to love's fact.
 
Andrew Pratt
Words © 2011 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: 9 8 9 8
Tune: ST CLEMENT
 
 

For a continuing time of COVID – HYMN/PRAYER – When the weeping of the nations

 When the weeping of the nations 
 fills our hearts with holy dread, 
 when a virus rings with pity 
 those who cannot reach their dead,
 God is in our consternation, 
 weeping by each sufferer’s bed. 
  
 Distanced, lacking human comfort,
 no more in a mother’s arms, 
 fearful faces peer through visors 
 watching, even breathing harms, 
 knowing only humane kindness 
 brings the peace that heals, disarms. 
 
 God bring strength in human weakness, 
 give us grace that we might see 
 through the mists of mortal blindness 
 how to live through agony, 
 how through quiet compassion, silence, 
 we might mark our empathy.

Andrew Pratt 31/12/2020
Words © 2021 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: PICARDY    Metre: 87 87 87