The care of all we seek or see – another response to the Coronavirus crisis: Psalm 121 – new link to a setting by John Kleinheksel added

The care of all we seek or see
was put into our hands,
but through our human arrogance
we thought we ruled all lands.
There was no thing beyond our grasp,
nor task beyond our means,
but limits hold us, keep us back,
deep-rooted in our genes.

Within a world of tooth and claw,
competing for a place,
we thought that we could dominate:
a mighty, human race.
But shocked, we should have recognized
our place within a plan,
we should have used our intellect
to prove our finite span.

We thought we were invincible
but now we understand,
a virus that we cannot see
could mark our final stand.
‘Pride comes before a fall’, they say,
and we were very proud,
but now we rue the day we spoke,
to state our case out loud.

At last it seems we need to pause,
to understand our plight,
to own our vulnerability,
to walk into the light:
Great God, however we believe,
we plead, we cry, we call,
come hold us, keep us, lift us up,
God catch us as we fall.
Andrew Pratt 20/3/2020
Metre: CMD
Tune: BETHLEHEM; CLAUDIUS (Fink)
Tune setting: The.Care.of.All.We.Seek.Virus
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.

Rejoice, for things are as they are – a hymn in time of trouble

Rejoice, for things are as they are;
don’t flee as clouds that flow and drift
on wings of wind that shift and change;
God’s love will comfort, calm and lift.

For God is your celestial shield,
no cosmic power, nor human scheme
will separate you from that love
no matter how your terrors teem.

Your going out, your coming in
are safe, whatever, come what may.
You know the reason to rejoice
so sing God’s praise by night, by day.

Partly inspired by Psalm 121 and Romans 8 v38-39. Published in Reclaiming Praise, 2006, Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003, 2006Stainer & 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: LM

See https://hymnsandbooks.blog/2020/03/12/hymns-in-a-time-of-pandemic/

Hymns in a time of pandemic

As I write the news is full of coronavirus and in the UK Brexit seems to have disappeared off the agenda, at least temporarily. I wonder what our hymnody has to offer in this context?
I sense a mixed feeling from the low-key ‘this is like flu’ or ‘a bad cold’ to the warning that older people are more vulnerable, that this may be fatal and, aside from avoiding one another and washing our hands, there is little we can do. For which hymns do we reach at such times?
Perhaps this is a moment for that style of effervescent worship that lifts us above physical reality and, for a moment at least, takes us out of the world to which, inevitably, we will return when we leave church? Or is it time for ‘Abide with me’?
Are there texts which recognise the finality of our existence, which sharpen our focus and, maybe, our faith ‘till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love and praise’? Is there a middle way
which acknowledges the finitude of human earthly existence while, at the same time, offering some reassurance of the persistent love of God in spite of all things, that love from which, mythologically or in ultimate reality, we can never be separated?

For God is your celestial shield,
no cosmic power, nor human scheme
will separate you from that love
no matter how your terrors teem.

*From ‘Rejoice for things are as they are’ Andrew E Pratt; Partly inspired by Psalm 121 and Romans 8 v38-39 © 2003, 2006 Stainer & Bell Ltd. Full text: https://hymnsandbooks.blog/2020/03/13/rejoice-for-things-are-as-they-are-a-hymn-in-time-of-trouble/