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




Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 2

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

Not just a shadow in the past,
a smudge on history’s page,
but women shared their faith themselves
and took the centre stage.

Not just content to live their lives
through children they had borne,
but standing, speaking, preaching love,
in face of fear or scorn.

Their sons might take the central place,
convention seemed to rule,
but wisdom played a different hand:
showed prejudice a fool.

So now we stand where they once stood,
defiant in God’s grace,
no crude constraint will turn us back
in any time or place!

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: CM
Tunes: SHANTI (by Marty Haugen); ABRIDGE.
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.

Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 1

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

The wisdom of women, so often determines
the paths that we take from the moment of birth;
both nature and nurture define through our growing:
a life hardly noticed or fame upon earth.

As parents we live out our lives through our children,
restraining, controlling or letting them grow;
demanding obedience, enabling their freedom,
or opening doors, simply letting them go.

The care and compassion received in the cradle
can influence choices and actions we take,
the growth of our faith, or our arrogant conflict,
the walls that we build, or the bridges we make.

From humble beginnings faith leaders are nurtured,
in just such a crib can a tyrant be found,
a mother or father can model commitment,
God’s graciousness planted in gently tilled ground.

And so we remember the strength of our parents,
their place in informing what we have become,
and those who through history have parented leaders
extending their influence through daughter or son.

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: 12.11.12.11
Tunes: ST CATHERIINES COURT; STREETS OF LAREDO
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.