Life now with Covid-19 – We cannot see the future (hymn/poem)

We cannot see the future,
nor live as in the past,
our time the present moment,
yet know this will not last.
But can a human construct
give answers or make sense
as everyone will struggle
with this, the present tense?

Our understanding staggers,
but what can history prove?
What scripture has a message
to help us rest or move?
The wilderness was testing
a place to learn and think,
a sudden unthought action
might push us to the brink.

So in this present moment
the greatest gift is time,
a time of recollection
before life’s upward climb.
And can our faith sustain us?
Or simple human love?
While waiting in the valley
we lift our eyes above.

The heavens will not answer,
but through each silent night
the stars might make us wonder
at their insistent light.
We live within an instant,
as finite as our breath,
suspended in a moment
between our life and death.

What matters in this moment
is how we love and live,
is how we treat each other,
of how we share and give;
to speculate is pointless,
this is the earth we know,
this edifice of living:
what will OUR loving show?

Andrew Pratt 5/5/2020
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.
Tunes: THORNBURY; CRUGER

Now is the coda of our time – hymn, lyrical poem when confronting death

Now is the coda of our time
with those we value most on earth,
may we fulfil our finite role
and love confirm our deepest worth.

This chorus that we joined at birth:
life’s gentle, joyful, solemn song,
expresses all that life contains
of gifted good to chosen wrong.

Then, as we sense that life will end,
the closing bars should speak of joy,
uplifted by our faith and hope
let us enhance, and not destroy.

So let the melody go on,
until we grasp our final breath,
as healing interweaves such love:
God’s counterpoint to human death.

Andrew Pratt 5/5/2020
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.
Tune: ABENDS

Slow sailing – reflecting on aging

In age, so often, life, it seems,
is like a leaky boat.
Our forward progress slows and swings
with the tide,
its ebb and flow.
For want of caulking
bilges seep and timbers creak
with every swing and turn
but still we cut between the waves,
while tacking with the flow.
And though it may seem strange to some
who wish to race ahead,
the more I travel now, I think,
I’d rather travel slow.
The harbour will come soon enough,
to moor and come to rest,
for now a passage,
calm and slow,
would seem much better blessed.

© Andrew Pratt 9/3/2020 – in response to an email from Claire Wilson

No insurance – for Australia

These crazy flames lick and lap at all that ranges round us,
the trappings of our wealth,
experience and existence.
At birth we can’t anticipate our existential ending,
the length of life not ours to count or measure.
But then we face eternity,
or nothingness,
depending on belief.
Like night’s thief, flames hotter than hell’s painting are not some distant image,
but sharpened fronds dissembling each dwelling.
And if we leave reality says,
‘there is no return’.
Can faith uphold us through this conflagration?
Survival walks naked of all that we have known,
valued or possessed.
That is the option open to us.
Our Hobson has no choice.
So if we die we will know what rests beyond this life.
Remaining so much is loss or lost.
Whichever path we walk pray this,
pray only this,
that now and on beyond this moment
the love a letter writer once described
will hold,
enfold
and keep us still through all that is to come.
And no insurance…just the faith…

Words © Andrew Pratt 4/1/2019

The depth of interstellar space – a Cosmic Christmas Carol

The depth of interstellar space,
the ultimate beyond,
the cosmic span of all that is
with Christ the common bond:
Word before world’s had come to be,
our common source and ground,
we stare into this starlit void,
that stellar craft will sound.

We fashion answers, look with awe,
and seek to understand
our place within this finite time,
this time in which we stand;
countless millennia plot the course
down to the present day,
but who can chance or even guess
what more may come in play?

Through this continuum of time
we surf on history’s wave,
we long for answers, never found,
that generations crave.
When will we settle trusting still
that peace is found through grace,
while all is relative in life –
and can love fill this place?

Andrew Pratt 5/11/2019
News that Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 had left the Solar System and are ‘exploring the outer reaches of our cosmic neighbourhood ‘. BBC News November 4th 2019 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50289353 accessed 5/1/2019

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: CHRISTMAS CAROL (Henry Walford Davies) Available at https://hymnary.org/tune/christmas_carol_davies;
Metre: CMD