Hymn – Martin Luther King – still for our time – a hymn for today – I have a dream…

 I have a dream that on a day
 not very long from now,
 all war-like weapons will be banned;
 by grace, God, show us how.
 I have a dream that love will hear
 another's crying need,
 that justice will demand we act
 in spite of race or creed.
 
 I have a dream that everyone
 upon this far-flung earth
 will see the Christ in those around,
 affirm a common worth.
 I have a dream that peace will come
 and hunger cease to be;
 within this time, this present age,
 all people will be free.
 
 I have a dream that foolish dreams
 like this might come about
 if you and I go hand in hand,
 in trust instead of doubt.
 I have a dream, come take my hand,
 the risk is worth the chance,
 the world will spin, turn upside down
 if we join heaven's dance.
 
 Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
 
 Words © 2015 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. 
 Hope Publishing in the USA
 From More than hymns 
 Metre: CMD
 Tune: KINSFOLD

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