Lent 1 – Three hymns and a poem

 He could have walked the easy road 
  
 He could have walked the easy road 
 to fortune and to fame.
 He knew he could work miracles, 
 to heal the blind and lame.
 He could have fed the starving poor 
 with fish as well as bread.
 But Jesus knew that life held more 
 and chose God’s word instead.
  
 He could have trusted angels’ wings, 
 up on that Temple tower. 
 To save him from a fall to death 
 was well within God’s power.
 The people would have marvelled then 
 and guessed this was God’s son.
 But Jesus would not take the test 
 to prove he was that one.
  
 He could have taken full control, 
 the world lay at his feet.
 He only had to say the word: 
 his rule would be complete.
 The mountain view had caught his breath..
 Power was a word away. 
 But Jesus turned back from it all 
 and God had won the day.
  
Marjorie Dobson 
Words © 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.
Metre: CMDTune: KINGSFOLD
  
Poem: The time has come
  
 As John had said, 
 ‘the time has come.’
 So Jesus, 
 bowing to the Jordan’s waves 
 and rising to the words 
 ‘beloved Son’ 
 and ‘well pleased,’ 
 was willing to be made ready, 
 by desert trial, 
 to take his place 
 in the unfolding story 
 of God’s love.
  
 But John 
 was soon in prison 
 for speaking out 
 too loud and long 
 for the comfort of the king.
 And Jesus, 
 fresh from temptation 
 and life-changing choices, 
 set off for Galilee, 
 knowing that now was his time 
 to spread good news 
 and bring the kingdom of God 
 to the people for whom 
 it had always been intended.
  
 No more waitng.
 No more preparation. 
 Time to go …
 ©Marjorie Dobson
  
 Jesus met supreme temptation 
  
 Jesus met supreme temptation, 
 countered subtlety with skill; 
 ever faithful to one purpose, 
 still committed to God's will.
             
 With no food he soon was famished, 
 hunger racked him, filled his mind, 
 then a voice had come to taunt him, 
 'bread is there for you to find'.
             
 Each illusion he would parry, 
 each temptation run to ground; 
 all the world was for the asking, 
 yet his faith was strong and sound.
             
 Every miracle and wonder 
 he was tempted to perform
 he rebutted, held the tension;
 he would live beyond this storm.
             
 And when we meet with temptation, 
 save us from each trial and test; 
 strengthen faith, God, give us courage, 
 help us strive toward the best.
 
Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2010 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: 8 7 8 7
Tune: LOVE DIVINE (Stainer)
  
 As glass will take the light – FOR COMMUNION
  
 As glass will take the light
 and focus all its heat;
 here in the water, wine and bread
 we find God's grace complete.
 
 We met God's presence here,
 our promises were sealed;
 but all is lost, is null and void,
 if love is kept concealed.
             
 So in God's peace we go,
 and in the Spirit's power,
 to offer love in word and deed
 in every coming hour.
 
Andrew E Pratt           
© 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.
Metre: SM
Tune: CARLISLE
  
  
   

Am I creation’s keeper Poem/hymnWritten 13/9/2020 while watching David Attenborough’s broadcast – ‘Extinction: The Facts’



Am I creation’s keeper,
a steward of this earth,
a singular vocation,
to measure all its worth?
As humans we must nurture,
the land, the sea, the air,
for all we see around us
is handed to our care.

Yet lost in self-obsession,
not feeding human need,
our greatest occupation,
is meeting human greed;
we cull and kill creation,
exterminate at will,
we hanker and we hunger
for more than just our fill.

The seas become polluted,
the forests burnt or felled,
the air a noxious fluid,
its temperature not held.
The world, unfit for purpose,
destroyed by human choice?
We need to hear the prophets,
to raise up every voice.

No faith or creed or preference,
exceeds our need for life,
this planet, all its value,
will it survive our strife?
When human life has ended,
this home left scarred and torn,
will God not weep with anger,
that we were ever born?

Written 13/9/2020 while watching David Attenborough’s broadcast:
Extinction: The Facts
Andrew Pratt, 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.
Suggested Tune: SALLY GARDENS

God marks no ending, only new beginnings – Hymn/Poem – Methodist New Year – and other times of change or new-ness or loss

God marks no ending, only new beginnings,
until the consummation of our lives;
God keeps no count of losses, nor of winnings:
we move through grace, the holy spirit thrives.

So as we go beyond this time, this setting,
rememb’ring all the laughter and the tears;
we go with God in faith, so not regretting
the moments shared, the hopes, the dreams, the fears.

Though parted for a while, we travel onward,
not knowing what the future has in store.
This phase will close, the spirit draws us forward,
we’ve tasted love, but God has promised more!

Words © 2006 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.

11 10 11 10 Suggested Tune: LORD OF THE YEARS

Cedars of Lebanon – hope for Beirut, and the world in a TIME of COVID-19

Fred Kaan, (1929–2009) a prolific hymn writer and ecumenist once compiled a book of hymns entitled Planting Seeds and Growing Trees. It was based on the Biblical image that that those who risk planting seeds are planting hope for the future in bleak situations.    A key text began:

Were the world to end tomorrow,
would we plant a tree today?
Would we till the soil of loving,
kneel to work and rise to pray?                                                                                                    Fred Kaan (1929-2009)  © 1989 Stainer & Bell Ltd

In the current situation of COVID-19 and the devastating explosion in Beirut (4th August 2020) the following hymn, written for a tree planting, came to mind:

Cedars of Lebanon, oaks of old England,*
elegant poplars along country roads,
trees mark a heritage, hope for the future,
holding our history and bearing our loads.

So at each planting we mark a beginning,
partners with God at this moment in time,
turning the earth with renewed expectation
placing a marker and planting a sign.

Each tree puts value on present and future,
points to this moment of God given grace,
rings out the years through to new generations,
living and worshipping near to this place.

So God we offer our plans for your blessing,
grounded in all you have given and held,
nurture each tree and our lives through our living,
till life’s completion, till all trees are felled;

till we have found in our end our beginning,
purpose of life in the days that you send.
God give us strength for the tasks here before us,
God of our present and God without end.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2011 Stainer and Bell Ltd. (*Alt by author)

Might we go on planting seeds and growing trees, planting faith, growing hope.