Pentecost resources – hymns, song, poem, monologue, reflection, drama

The following items are all written by Marjorie Dobson or Andrew Pratt.
More of Marjorie Dobson's writing can be found at Stainer & Bell Ltd - Marjorie Dobson
More of Andrew Pratt's writing can be found at Stainer & Bell Ltd - Andrew Pratt

Hymn: It was a new beginning on the day the Spirit came

It was a new beginning on the day the Spirit came.
The house was filled with roaring wind and heads were touched by flame.
Their lips were blessed with languages that all could understand 
and Peter led the charge into this new uncharted land.

It was a revelation when the doors were opened wide 
and all could see what happened to the ones who were inside.
“These men are plainly very drunk, at only nine-o-clock.
It’s surely very clear they’ve had a monumental shock.”

It was a new translation when the Spirit led their speech 
and Peter stood in front of them and then began to preach.
The people were amazed because they understood each word 
and, what is more, they acted on the message that they heard.

It was a new beginning, but the story carries on, 
as people still find inspiration, though the years have gone.
For Pentecost is permanent, the Spirit still holds sway 
and helps us to translate God’s word and challenge for today.

Marjorie Dobson	
© 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.
Metre: 14 14 14 14
Tune: THE LINCOLNSHIRE POACHER

Poem: Common language

Confusion – 
as the Babel-babble of languages 
ripped apart a proud people
and scattered them in misunderstanding.

Resolution – 
as a Spirit-filled language 
swept swiftly through a listening crowd 
and united them in understanding and community.

Same God.
Same Spirit.
But now in longed-for reconciliation, 
as the word of death defeated by the love of God 
was spoken with Pentecostal power.

©Marjorie Dobson

Hymn/Poem: Simultaneous translation

Simultaneous translation, 
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, 
all the world, it seemed, was listening, 
here the Spirit cheers, unites. 
	
Awe and wonder stunned the people, 
something new had come to birth, 
now the Holy Spirit, flaming, 
spread God's grace across the earth.
	
Faith's foundations shudder, quaking, 
preconceptions shift and shake, 
people share anticipation,
joy has come and love will wake!

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© Words © 2012 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: DRAKES BROUGHTON; SHIPSTON

Inspiration: I hate balloons!

I hate balloons!
Ever since that day
one horrid child
burst one behind me
at a party, 
when I was only four,
or thereabouts -
I’ve hated balloons.

And yet ……

a street-seller
captivates children –
and me –
by making shapes and animals,
as he breathes life
into long, thin balloons
and curves and twists them
in his hands.
Then, suddenly, a dog!
And a delighted child
sees, not breath encased,
only a new friend
to carry home with glee.

Empty,
balloons are nothing.
Air-filled,
they live.

Come Holy Spirit,
pour new life into me,
that I may fill
and change
and live and grow,
transformed 
by the very breath of God.

Marjorie Dobson
© 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.

Song: Lithe spirit you're bounding and leaping

Lithe spirit you're bounding and leaping,
stars shimmer and flash from your heels,
until the whole world burns with pardon and praise,
until the lost know how love feels.

O harlequin dazzle by dancing,
let joy spring like sparks from a flame,
until every person consumed by your love
comes blithely to join in your game.

Come juggler, spinning and turning
our chances and dreams like a top,
until all our values are turned upside down
whirl on through the world, never stop.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© Words © 2002 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: 9 8 11 8
Tune: LITHE SPIRIT – from Reclaiming Praise & Whatever Name or Creed (https://stainer.co.uk/composer/andrew-pratt/ )
This can be heard with different words at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTFG7EXQQNM 

Drama: Pentecost People – Acts 2: 1-21
(Could be used as a substitute for a sermon, or in an interactive service, or in a discussion group. The characters could lead into topics for discussion or conversation.)

Reader - Acts 2: 1-21

Narrator: Can you imagine what it must have been like on that day? It must have been sunny – and very hot. What would you have been doing if you were in that crowd? They were mostly Jews from all over the world and this was a religious festival for them.
Maybe imagining how you would have felt then is not easy. For that reason, each of the following characters has brought the story into their own time – our time, maybe?

Maybe this was your regular visit to Jerusalem and you wouldn’t want to miss it? 

Regular attender: Do you know I’ve never missed a Sunday at church for the last forty years – apart from holidays and illness, of course. It’s just a part of my way of life. Every Sunday, get up, get dressed in my best, and off I go. I meet my friends, we have a gossip and coffee after the service and it’s all very pleasant and starts the week off on the right note. The service is OK, so long as the hymns are right and you don’t have to listen to the sermon if you don’t want to. I’ve heard it all before anyway. But these extra visitors are not like us regulars.

Narrator: Maybe you’re local. You live here and have to put up with the visitors. 

Local worshipper: I’m not really comfortable when we get too many visitors crowding our church out - like at Christmas, or Harvest Festival – but I reckon they’re not really serious about the service, so I don’t pay them much attention as long as I can be first in the queue for coffee. I’m not sure why these people come, even if it is a special occasion. We’re not a very adventurous kind of church. We know our own ways and like them and nothing exciting is ever likely to happen round here, so we just carry on as usual and they can make of it what they will.

Narrator: Maybe you’ve travelled a long way – you’re a Jew, but this isn’t even your country. 

Stranger from another place: I’m not from round here. My country is very different to this. So I came here to look for safety and security, but it’s not always easy being here. I hoped the church would offer me some kind of refuge, that’s why I came at this special time. I believe in God, so I should be as much a part of this company as anyone else. I struggle with the language sometimes and some people don’t seem very comfortable because I’m here, but I hope that God will speak to me wherever I am, even if the language is different.

Narrator: Maybe you think all this is a rip-off. People making money.

Cynic: I reckon there’s something fishy going on here. You come to church only because you’ve had your arm twisted up your back by the girl friend to be here for this celebration thing and then it’s just like any other big crowd anywhere. There’s always somebody making a noise, or acting funny, or talking about strange things happening at the front that you can’t see or understand. There are rumours that something’s going to happen and then nothing seems to – not that I can see anyway! I wonder who’s making money out of this and is all this talking and singing just a way of getting you in the mood to hand over even more money

Narrator: Maybe you feel others should recognize that it is a privilege for them to be here with you? 

VIP: It’s really difficult for me when there are all these strangers milling about. Some of them even try to talk to me. But do they know who I am? I have been a pillar of this church and taken on every office I possibly could and given loyal service to this building over many years now. My name has even gone down in its local history and when I speak in a meeting, most people take note of what I’m saying. But it’s so difficult to command respect in a crowd that doesn’t know you. They only come on these special occasions, so I think I should just keep my distance and maybe some of them may recognize that I’m a person of some importance and a force to be reckoned with.

Narrator: Maybe you are panicking because you feel out of control?

The anxious one: I don’t like crowds. I have never liked crowds. I get panicky and afraid because you never know what might happen. That’s why I keep myself to myself – even in church. I don’t want anyone to know how I feel, so I hide it. And who would be interested in my worries and anxieties anyway? I do try to pray about them sometimes, but I’m not even sure that God would want to listen to someone as insignificant as me. So I just keep quiet and hope that I can get away by myself as soon as possible. But it’s so difficult in this crowd. And I’m so easily frightened.

Narrator: The city is hot and noisy and dusty and sweaty and you’re lost and simply moving with the crowd. 

The lost one: I have no idea of how I got here, or why I should be here. I never do have much idea of who I am or where I’m going. I just keep looking for something new, or interesting and seeing where it leads me. Most times, that means nowhere. I don’t suppose this day is going to be any different. I’m sure there must be lots of people who have definite ideas of where they’re going in life and I sometimes envy them. But, for the moment I’ll just drift along following the next craze and not really caring very much about anything. These people seem to be finding something interesting. I suppose I might as well go along with them. For now.

Narrator: Then they come to a standstill outside one particular house. You hear the rumours about the strange people in it. You wait because you’re curious – or simply because you can’t move anywhere else.

Then, suddenly –

Cynic: What did I tell you, Drunk as lords, they are!

The anxious one: Somebody said there was fire somewhere. I’ve got to get out of this!

VIP: Oh dear, what a dreadful noise. This isn’t the sort of behaviour you expect from church people. And they tell me he is a common fisherman!

Local worshipper: They can’t do that kind of thing round here. It’ll give the neighbourhood a bad name!

Regular attender: That man seems to be preaching a very long sermon. I do hope that kind of behaviour won’t catch on!

Stranger from another place: Why are they talking like that? Hey, I can understand that! What does this mean?

The lost one: What that man’s saying really makes me think. Maybe I ought to start taking things seriously. He’s down to earth, but he’s certainly a powerful speaker. This could be the start of a whole new life!

Narrator: All those strange events and Peter filled with a new Spirit of power – surely that was bound to have a tremendous impact on the people there.

It certainly did!

For one thing, three thousand people were added to the church on that day, as they responded to the message that Peter was giving. 

Why? 
Because it was powerful and they could understand it, as it was being explained in their own language.

Is there some lesson in this for us – HERE and NOW?

©Marjorie Dobson

Hymn: Wind of the Spirit, move us on

Wind of the Spirit, move us on,
drive us before your force.
We need that power to strengthen us
of which you are the source.
Blow off the cobwebs of the past
and set us on your course:
O come Holy Spirit, move us on, move us on.
O come Holy Spirit, move us on.

Fire of the Spirit, burn in us,
surround us with your light.
Destroy our sense of apathy,
give us the will to fight.
That with our hearts on fire for Christ
we set the world alight:
Chorus

Voice of the Spirit speak to us,
give us your words to say.
Inspire the language of your love,
help us to preach and pray.
That all may hear of saving grace
translated for their day:
Chorus

Christ, let your Spirit sweep through us,
your serving church renew.
Give us new hope and confidence
in all the work we do.
That those who seek for faith today
may find their way to you:
Chorus

Marjorie Dobson
© 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.
Metre : 8.6.8.6.8.6. & Refrain           
Tune: GOD REST YOU MERRY.

Monologue: Three thousand – plus one!

He certainly got through to me, that Peter bloke. I’ve never heard anyone be so forceful and so sincere in what he was saying. It was amazing.
I don’t know where he got the courage from. After all, he’d been hiding away with the others for weeks and I don’t blame them. They knew the authorities were out to get them if they showed their faces and tried to stir up trouble. The Romans and the religious leaders thought they’d settled their problems by killing Jesus, but they certainly knew that they had to keep his followers under control, or everything would flare up again.
So when things seemed to be happening in the hideout, it wasn’t long before a crowd gathered and I was determined to get as good a view as I could.
Everybody thought they were drunk when they spilled out of the door. The general opinion was that they’d been drowning their sorrows while they’d been locked away, but now the drink had given them enough courage to get outside again.
Then Peter started and we couldn’t believe what he was saying, or his confidence in saying it. By the time he’d finished, he’d totally convinced us that it was our fault that we hadn’t recognized Jesus as the Messiah and so we were the ones who’d crucified him. We’d rejected the very person we’d been expecting for hundreds of years and God wasn’t best pleased with us.
All around me people were crying out and asking what they could do to make things right again. As if we could? How could anything change the situation? He was dead and gone and according to Peter, he’d already been taken back to heaven. What difference could we make to that?
But he had an answer for that too. If we were really sorry for our mistake and were prepared to be baptised into the name of Christ, as a sign of our repentance, then God would honour that act and be a part of our lives for ever.
It reminded me of those days at the Jordan river, many years ago, when that odd, hairy prophet, John was pushing people under the water as a sign of repentance. I didn’t fall for that one then and I wasn’t going to be caught out by this Peter either.
All over the place people were falling on their knees amd begging God for forgiveness. I found it really difficult to get out of the crowd; pushing my way through distraught and supposedly repentant people. But I had to get away. I was in danger of being dragged into all this emotion and I didn’t like the idea. So I escaped down a side street and ran home. A little later one of my sons came back  and told me that apparently three thousand people had been baptised into this new group. It was unbelievable.
I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t. I spent the night pacing up and down, talking to myself and trying not to talk to God. Because I knew, deep in my heart, that Peter was right and I was wrong. And,until I admitted that, I would have to keep God at a distance. So, as day dawned, I knew I had to do something about it.
That’s why I’m off now to become number three thousand and one!

©Marjorie Dobson

Hymn: A commonwealth of love 

A commonwealth of love 
where all are held by grace, 
it seems idyllic on the page, 
could it infect this place?
Within that upper room
were people just like us, 
but meeting Christ in faith and love 
transformed their depth of trust.
	
And when we meet with God 
we cannot but be changed,
for God confronts our doubt and fear
as lives are rearranged.
This day the change begins, 
the vision is fulfilled, 
and life will never be the same 
where love can be distilled.
	
So let us grasp this hope
that set the world alight,
that love can never be destroyed 
and fear is put to flight.
A commonwealth of love:
let's risk a seed of grace
to bring this vision into life
within this time and place.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© Words © 2012 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: DSM
Tune: FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH


Good Friday – Two hymns and three monologues, including audio (further material listed for Passion Sunday)

GOOD FRIDAY

Pilate reacts

What kind of king are you,
you Jew?
The priests condemn you for they say you spite them,
yet you will not fight them.
They say you claim to be a king to rule them.
Do you just fool them?
They throw your talk of kingdom in your face. 
You say that it is not your kind of place,
Yet now you claim to know the source of truth?
You're not a callow youth.
There is no sense in such.
You talk too much -
and kingdom speeches cannot be allowed.
I'll leave the last decision to the crowd. 

And Christ whose kingdom turned things upside-down 
was destined then to wear a thorn-spiked crown

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.

Creation's pulse, the rhythm of each day 

Creation's pulse, the rhythm of each day, 
the pulse of God, yet life blood ebbs away. 
The light is fading, eyes will strain to see. 
Contorted muscles struggle to be free.
	
Yes God, is dying, God is hung up high, 
and soon that pulsing life blood will be dry. 
The darkness falls, life's rhythm has its end, 
and they will grieve: his mother, father, friend. 
	
God hung and died, the butt of human hate, 
this depth of love demanded such a fate;
For when aggression came onto the stage 
God offered love instead of violent rage. 
	
Now all is plain for faulted humankind, 
no riddle to unravel, fathom, find: 
that those who know the rhythm of God's grace 
should loose that pulse of love within this place.  

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2009 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: 10 10 10 10
Tune: WOODLANDS
	
Act of God

Flesh and blood, 
torn apart daily 
in conflict, 
terror, 
crime, 
torture, 
accident 
or Act of God.

Act of God, they say. 
As if a vindictive God 
oversaw all disaster 
as an event planned 
for satisfaction 
of some unknown purpose.

Yet the act of God 
that tore flesh to the bone 
and brought agony, 
despair 
and death by execution 
for the sake of humanity 
is rarely mentioned.

Unless it is by those 
who gather at a table 
to break bread and drink wine 
in order to absorb something 
of the same sacrificial spirit 
that was in 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.

Tortured, beaten, scarred and tainted 

Tortured, beaten, scarred and tainted,
Not a picture deftly painted,
More a tattered, battered being,
Torn, disfigured, stark, unseeing.
	
Muscles twisted, strained, contorted,
Body dangling, bruised, distorted.
Life blood drying, sun-baked, stinging,
Hatred, bitter hatred, flinging.

Crowds insensate, tempers vented,
Full of anger, discontented.
Curses scattered, insults flying,
Spurned, derided, God is dying.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)	
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.
From Blinded by the Dazzle, Stainer & Bell, 1997.

A pieta reflection – Mary cradles Jesus. Audio - make sure sound is turned up - Written and read by Marjorie Dobson. Copyright details under transcript below
Click to start

A pieta reflection - Transcript - Marjorie Dobson

They let me hold him before they took his body away. 

They lifted him so gently and carefully and laid him so that his scourged back and bleeding shoulders rested against the soft fabric of my dress. I could feel the torn flesh weeping through the cloth, spreading and seeping through to my skin.

The thorns, that mockery of a crown, had gone. 
Friends had taken them away as quickly as they could, but some had gone so deep they had broken and couldn't be removed and the imprint of that cruel irony was written there in blood.

I held his hands, once strong and skilful, crafting wood in the workshop, using the tools of his trade. 

Gentle, trusting hands I'd held through childhood, now mangled by hammer and nails - an executioner's tools. 

Healing hands, hands that had helped so many - now broken, the flesh pierced, opened and torn; the bones crushed and splintered.

And had they needed to strike with that spear at the end? 
Couldn't they see he was dead already? 
Why did they have to put that senseless wound in his side? 
What had he done to deserve any of that? 
Couldn't they even let his dead body alone?

So, as I cradled his tortured, bloodied head and strand by strand, lifted his tangled hair away from the open wounds above his staring eyes, I raged against the God who gave him to me and then tore him from me in such a violent fashion.

Oh, God! Why did you let this happen? 
You could have saved him! You could have warned him! You could have let him escape. 
You could have changed their minds before they did this to him. 
You had the power - why didn't you use it?

And as I wept and railed at God, my tears washed down over his beloved face and mingled with his blood and I closed his God-forsaken eyes to shut out the desolation I saw there. 
At that last moment he'd felt abandoned - even God wasn't listening.

But I would make him listen!

How could he do this to my son? A mother shouldn't have to watch her child die - and die in such agony. 
To feel that no one, not God, not his mother, cared what was happening to him!

Because I couldn't touch him. I couldn't help him. 
They wouldn't let me near enough to do anything. 

Only when it was too late; too late to comfort him; too late for him to feel my touch, to hear my words of love; only then, when it was too late, did they let me come to him.

What kind of a God allows that to happen?

What kind of a God doesn't answer the prayer of a dying man?

What kind of a God promises so much and then allows those promises to die so soon?

They had to take his body from me. 

They were so gentle and understanding, those friends, but I didn't want to let him go. 

I knew I couldn't do anything for him. Nothing would bring him back. 

But still I clung to him, knowing it was useless, desperately longing to show him the love he had needed in those last agonising moments. Would he ever know how much I wanted to take his place? I should have been the one to die, not him. 

I am his mother. I bore him with pain and blood. And  when they took his body from me, I felt he had been torn from me again. 

But this agony is unbearable and this blood is his, not mine.

How could God take someone so young, so vibrant, so alive? 

Oh, God! What have you done?

Now he is gone. There is nothing more I can do . His life is over. My agony and desolation is just beginning.

Dear God! I feel so angry. I wish I could make sense of this! I hope you can! All I can do is weep.

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.

Passion Sunday – Two hymns and a Monologue May also be used on Good Friday

PASSION SUNDAY (May also be used on GOOD FRIDAY)

Anointed, yet bartered, then beaten and hung 

Anointed, yet bartered, then beaten and hung, 
time tumbling on forward, Christ’s moment had come; 
the judgement was passing, hands washed of the crime 
the snare had been set, sure as rhythm and rhyme. 

We watch from the sidelines, we’re distanced by time, 
our culture is different, our actions a mime;
yet, if we are open, we feel in each heart 
the stress of each moment, was God’s from the start.

And as we rehearse all that we’ve heard before, 
we thank God for grace, yet anticipate more.
God’s love undiluted, sustained will remain, 
refreshed, resurrected, again and again.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2021 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:11.11.11.11
Tune NORMANDY; MY JESUS I LOVE THEE (note repeats on the last line of each verse); DATCHET

The King’s cross

‘The King of the Jews’, 
Pilate called him.

But his crown 
was of thorns 
that pierced to his skull 
and his cloak 
was the blood 
from his head 
and his flesh-torn back 
and his robe 
was a loin cloth, 
sweaty and stained 
and his gloves 
and shoes 
were hammered nails, 
holding him fast 
to his throne 
of a cross.

A bloodied wreck 
of a king 
was Jesus.

Yet in dying he became, 
not the King of the Jews, 
but the King of the Kingdom 
that God opens to all 
who follow the path 
of the cross.

Marjorie Dobson © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019, 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.

Jesus the Carpenter

Jesus the carpenter, hanging on Calvary,
nails through your feet and your work-hardened hands –
wood you have worked with and wood is your destiny -
paying the price of our sinful demands.

You came to our world as a part of a family, 
living and learning the carpenter’s trade.
You followed your father’s instructions so faithfully,
shaping and crafting the yokes that you made:
Jesus the carpenter…

You called other workmen to join in your ministry, 
laying rough hands on the sick and the lame.
You taught of God’s love with such power and authority,
people who knew you believed you insane:
Jesus the carpenter…

You faced with great courage the open hostility
coming from those who believed they were right.
They stripped you and beat you and laughed at you finally,
thinking your death was the end of the fight:
Jesus the carpenter…

But we, who now know that you ended triumphantly
working with wood till your task was complete,
can come to your cross with our hope and humility,
laying our pride at the Carpenter’s feet:

Jesus the carpenter, hanging on Calvary,
nails through your feet and your work-hardened hands –
wood you have worked with and wood is your destiny -
paying the price of our sinful demands.

Marjorie Dobson © 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. 
From Multicoloured Maze, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2004
(Tune: – Mission Praise 611 - Blow the wind southerly)

LENT 5 – Two Monologues and Two Hymns

Hebrews 5: 5 – 10 

Monologue: The order of Melchizedek

Melchizedek! 
Now there’s a great name for a High Priest, if ever I heard one.
Melchizedek!!
Good strong name. Starts with an ‘M’ – a thrusting letter – pushing the word out into the waiting world.
And it’s got four syllables – very impressive, that. Knocks all those single syllable names, like Tom and John and Will, for a six.
And it’s difficult to spell.
And not easy to say.
And it’s got both a ‘Z’ and a ‘K’ in it.
Certainly a magnificent name for a High Priest. 
Melchizedek!

Jesus doesn’t sound anywhere near as impressive a name as that.
Very common, for his day, was the name, Jesus. Still is in many parts of the world – which comes as a shock to people who think the name is confined to only one man.
Doesn’t matter, though. ‘Cos Jesus – the Bible one - never claimed to be a High Priest. Didn’t want anything to do with that hierarchy, juggling for power and trying to make a name for themselves.
No, Jesus was just an ordinary man. Different, but ordinary. He mixed with all sorts and got a reputation for it. 
But he did know how to take on the authorities – especially the religious ones - who should have been doing a good job but were really just full of self-importance.
He really got their backs up. Which is why they made him suffer and eventually killed him.
But the irony was that, because he had given his all for God and the people, God then named Jesus as the greatest High Priest of all time – the one who would always be a way back to God for those who needed to find that.

Now that’s what a High Priest is meant to be – even if his name isn’t Melchizedek!
©Marjorie Dobson

Psalm 51: 1-12

Hymn: We each hold within us a trace of the God-head 

We each hold within us a trace of the God-head, 
the grace of forgiveness, the power to plead;
the crisis before us the choice and the challenge: 
to cultivate hatred, or nurture love’s seed.

It's not that we're guilty, You made us for goodness, 
but having the will to build up or break down.
We need to admit in the light of your presence
deception, hypocrisy – part of our ‘crown’.

And so God we worship, not courting your mercy,
but owning quite openly all that we are. 
God take us, forgive us, renew our intention, 
to live by your spirit; God heal every scar. 

Andrew Pratt
Words © 2012 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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: 12.11.12.11
Metre: ST CATHERINE’S COURT

John 12: 20-33

Monologue: Those poor Greeks

Those poor Greeks must have got a bit of a shock.
Granted, they were in town for the Passover festival – and strange things often happened at festivals.
Granted, they were Greeks – and their thirst for knowledge was well-known and, mostly, respected.
Granted, they were curious – wanting to see this remarkable teacher.
Granted, they approached him in a respectful way – going first to Philip, who had a reputation for being open-minded and not being biased against foreigners, whether they were Jews or not.
Granted, they were probably prepared to listen to anything that Jesus had to say – however strange, or progressive it may be.
But it still must have been a shock when he suddenly started talking about death and glorification and others losing their lives for the sake of following him.
On top of all that there was the booming voice from heaven – rather indistinct to most people, who thought that it must be thunder.
But they must have been near enough to make out the words. They clearly heard Jesus say, ‘Father, glorify your name.’
And that was strange in itself. What right had he to call God ‘Father’?
Stranger still was the reply – ‘I already have and will do so again.’
What on earth did they make of that?
Did they wait long enough to hear Jesus say that when he was lifted up – even if it was in death – that he would draw all people to him?
It must have given them hope if they did – foreigners as they were.
But it could be that they’d slipped out of the crowd long before that – puzzled by what they’d heard, apprehensive of what they’d seen and needing to give the matter a great deal of thought and discussion before they made any decision about their response.
Jesus still affects people like that.
His words are not always easy to swallow.
But those who never listen, never learn.
And the truth is that the suffering and death of Jesus was inevitable.
But so was the resurrection.
©Marjorie Dobson


John 12: 20-33

Hymn: A troubled soul, the Christ of God

A troubled soul, the Christ of God, 
humanity exposed, 
with all the turmoil that we feel, 
when choices are proposed.
The monumental choice he faced, 
the crisis must be met, 
to take the path of love to death, 
or turn away, forget.

The riddle of the grain of wheat 
was told with fear and dread, 
yet mention of new fruit gives hope 
that God might raise the dead. 
The loss of life, the gain of life 
are tangled in this game, 
yet those who live in love of God 
are held within love's frame.

So Jesus chose and we must choose, 
which path we are to take, 
the one which will deny God's love 
or cause the earth to quake.
God give us courage to deny 
the self that harbours hate, 
to trust in your eternal grace, 
before it is too late.

Andrew Pratt
Words © 2012 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 ©  Stainer & Bell Ltd
Tune: DCM
Metre: ELLACOMBE

Mothering Sunday/Mothers’ Day – Two Hymns and a Dramatic Monologue

Psalm 131


God, you hold me like a mother,
Safely on her knee;
God, you hold me like a mother,
Close to you but free.

God, you watch me as I wander,
Keep me in your sight.
God, you watch me as I wander,
Hold me day and night.

God, you hold me like a mother,
Teach me to be free.
God, you hold me like a mother,
Show your love to me.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 1995 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 ©  Also The Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 
8 5 85 Trochaic
Tune: GOD YOU HOLD ME

Luke 2:22-40

Monologue: Old folks!

Have you heard the latest about that batty old Anna?
You know - that old woman who thinks she’s a prophetess. Wanders round the Temple all day, praying all over the place. Eighty-four if she’s a day! Don’t know how she’s managed to live to that age – not with all her problems.
Did you realise that she’s been a widow for years and years and years?
It’s true. She married this man who only managed to survive for seven years and then he died and left her on her own. Mind you, if she’s always been as strange as she is now, maybe that had something to do with it.
Anyway, I was telling you the latest.
Apparently this nice young couple had brought their baby to the Temple to be dedicated. First-born boy, you see. Everybody has to do it. And they’d already had an encounter with that other strange character – Simeon, they call him. He’s one of those weird people who still believe the Messiah will come. Only he’s a bit more peculiar than the others because he believes it will happen before he dies. And it appears that he thought that day had finally arrived. I ask you!
Well, anyway, this young couple and their baby had just recovered from him praying and praising God all over their baby, when they turned round and there was Anna lying in wait for them. They certainly had their fill of odd experiences this morning. 
She didn’t exactly leap out at them. Well, you wouldn’t at her age, would you?  But she certainly made sure they wouldn’t get past her until she’d said her piece. At first I think they just thought she was one of those old dears who drool all over babies and say stupid things about how much they look like their fathers, or mothers. But she took one look and then started off on one of her praising God sessions and telling anybody who would listen that this child was a special one promised by God.
I ask you, those poor parents must have been lost for words. One old man tells them they’ve given birth to the Messiah, so he can now die happy and an even older woman starts telling the same story to anyone who couldn’t avoid her fast enough.
What a day they must have had. I’ll bet they’ll never forget it. It must be the strangest experience they’ll ever have in their lives.
But what do old people know about anything? They’re just out of date and past it. They live in a world of their own, while the rest of us get on with our business.
It’s such a stupid idea. 
Fancy thinking that a child can make any difference! Whoever heard of such a thing?
© Marjorie Dobson

Hymn: Vulnerable presence of God in creation


Vulnerable presence of God in creation, 
fragile, yes broken, in order to be;
cracking the egg of existence in birthing, 
mothering God who is setting us free.

Vulnerable God source of nature, will nurture, 
sharing our pain in the process of birth; 
bloodied, yet beautiful, changed, yet unchanging, 
passionate partner of love on this earth. 

Vulnerable God found in human relations, 
held as a baby, yes, suckled and fed; 
yet an enigma, creating and feeding, 
God is our parent, while being our bread.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2012 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

Words and tune in Big Blue Planet & CD 
Metre: 11.10.11.10 
Tune: STEWARDSHIP