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


Lent 4 – Two poems and two hymns

John 3: 1-17

Poem: God so loved …

No complicated creeds, 
or self-righteous rituals.
No holy huddles, 
or raw judgements.
No insistence on conformity.

Only a call to turn around 
to find forgiveness waiting.

For at the heart of all creation 
and the core of our existence 
there is the love of God 
for errant people. 

And one special human, 
whose presence in the world 
changed all our perceptions 
of our relationship 
with the God who loves us 
so much that he gave …
Marjorie Dobson - from Unravelling the Mysteries © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2019; London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns where appropriate. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd 

John 3:14-21

Hymn: Trust that God, who lit the cosmos 

Trust that God, who lit the cosmos, 
source and ground of all we are, 
demonstrated love's dimension, 
dying like the evening star, 
softened, shaded, so diminished, 
then extinguished, gone from sight, 
yet the third day rose in glory, 
bringing hope and shedding light.
	
From that day the crisis beckoned, 
those who saw that light must choose 
where to stand: with Christ in suffering? 
To accept or to refuse?
Still that challenge stands before us, 
God has given love and grace. 
Will we take the love that's offered 
or deride God in this place?
	
All our songs are crass and empty, 
all our worship hollow praise, 
if we do not love our neighbours 
that we live with in these days. 
Simple acts of loving kindness 
signal where we place our trust; 
faith without these simple actions 
slowly moulders, turns to dust.

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.
8 7 8 7 D
Tune: DIM OND IESUS

Poem: Light came …

If light is good 
and darkness is bad, 
why do we have such a longing 
to run to the dark 
when we see the light of God 
entering the world?

Could it be 
that we need to hide 
and the darkness 
is our only refuge?

Yet God persists 
in flooding the world with light 
and focusing its intensity 
through Jesus.

Is it any wonder 
that a new flame 
burns in our hearts 
and fires our enthusiasm 
when we emerge from the shadows, 
as we finally recognize 
how much God loves us?
©Marjorie Dobson

Ephesians 2:1-10

Hymn: Into darkness and disaster 

Into darkness and disaster, 
swept along by what we’ve done, 
making choices that determined 
things we’ve lost and things we’ve won, 
sometimes we reflect and wonder 
at the people we’ve become.

Sometimes lost, sometimes despairing, 
feeling there is no way back 
to the way we wish we’d taken, 
knowing all the things we lack, 
we can feel so God forsaken, 
prayer is dry, resolve is slack.

Yet within the depths of sorrow, 
when there is no way ahead, 
God will reach us, grace will show us 
life beyond the tears we’ve shed; 
God will lift us, heal, forgive us, 
shield us from the things we dread.

God will build a bright tomorrow, 
light a dawn of wider scope, 
where our human strength has faltered 
God will sow the seeds of hope.
Know that, even now, God holds us, 
and will show us how to cope.

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: TRIUMPH (Gauntlett); ST COLUMBANUS
Metre: 8.7.8.7.8.7


Wounded Healer

I heard the term Wounded Healer attributed to Ahmed Hankir in a BBC Radio broadcast – Start the Week – today 8th March 2021. I am not sure where the term ‘Wounded Healer’ came from originally but I quoted it in a poem/hymn written before 1993 and published in 1997 in my book Blinded by the Dazzle.

1	Will you join the wounded healer,
	Crucified upon the cross,
	Rising to the human challenge,
	Offering love through utter loss?

2	Will you live for liberation,
	Or, if need be, will you die,
	Not deflected from God's purpose,
	All deceitful art defy?

3	Wounded healers, men and women,
	Offer their humanity,
	Share God's mission: living, loving,
	Lifting, holding, setting free.

3A	Wounded healers, men and women,
	Offer your humanity,
	Share God's mission: living, loving,
	Lifting, holding, setting free.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 1993, 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. 
8 7 8 7 Trochaic

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