Poem for VE Day

My Father died 47 years ago. He had served in the 8th Army seeing action at El Alamein. This is not meant to be his story but reflecting, while there was sense in celebration when bombs stopped dropping on England, perhaps we might celebrate in 2020 with care. I guess my father, and others like him had not been demobbed. He didn’t talk much about his war. He had firm friends. Some had died. When he came home he had a nervous breakdown – post-traumatic stress? Some years later he was chronically and then terminally ill dying at the age of sixty. My mother died at the same age one year later. How much of this was an aftermath of war I’ll never know. I do know that in the fifties it was common to see men who had lost limbs not being lauded as paralympic athletes. Some things have changed…thank God…

They sent him home, a broken man,
each nerve and sinew torn or strained
and what was celebrated then
he recognised as little gained.

The trauma of that noise and strife,
the shattered buildings, tear torn lives,
with stunned, dismembered memories,
and, though he struggled, each survives.

The shell-shocked post-traumatic stress,
his past so vivid, sharpened, bright,
has left him stumbling through a void,
toward a mist enshrouded night.

*****************************

And now as we look back this day,
into a past that some have known,
may we revere the ones we see,
and recognise the grief they own.

And deeper truths must still be learned:
that no dispute is worth a life,
that peace and justice, kindness, love,
must bring an end to earthly strife.

© Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

AUDIO – © Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed – a hymn for love and unity

I vow to love my neighbour, whatever race or creed,
to join her in her suffering, to plead with him in need.
This love will always question, will search out right and wrong,
will give itself for justice, for those who don’t belong.
This love will never falter, till every soul is free,
till nations held in bondage can sing of liberty.

Through scenes of devastation, through famine, drought and war,
we’ll work in ways of gentleness, work hard till we restore
the vision of the people, the hope of human grace,
till nations dwell in peacefulness together in this place;
till all the world together can sing in joyful praise
till all have found communion together in our days.

Andrew E. Pratt (born 1948)
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.
13 13 13 13 13 13
Tune: THAXTED

Our borders, our walls mock the faith that we own -Hymn/Poem

Our borders, our walls mock the faith that we own,
denying the Christ that we claim to enthrone,
for Christ is our neigbour to love or reject,
for us to disdain, or to treat with respect.

The justice of God is as real as our flesh,
as real as each life that we drown or refresh;
as active as righteousness seen in the cross,
where love met with hatred while bearing the loss.

And now, in this moment, we need to decide,
our crisis of conscience to love or deride:
to claim that some small print lets us off the hook,
or answer, with courage, Christ’s challenging look?

Andrew Pratt 14/7/2019
Words © 2019 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: ST DEINIO

Tax Justice Sunday Hymn – Our vulnerable God – www.catj.org.uk

Our vulnerable God suffered pain and temptation,
rode lightly to wealth, saw the greedy as flawed.
And we, as disciples, who walk in Christ’s footsteps
are challenged to follow, to love, not defraud.

Transparent in action, confronting injustice,
upbraiding the rich, while upraising the poor,
he called us to welcome the outcast, the homeless,
by giving, not taking, by opening each door.

Let taxes revalue the lost and discarded,
ensuring the powerful will equally share,
until all the world is redeemed for all people,
until inequality ends as unfair.

And now as we look to the world let us value,
each person, each neighbour of infinite worth,
through sharing and stewardship to lift up the lowly,
to raise out of poverty all upon earth.
Andrew Pratt 29/4/2019
Words © 2019 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: STREETS OF LAREDO