Lent 3 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25 Poem: One Big Question When worldly wisdom and superior knowledge and intellectual snobbery and informed atheism have died the death of earthly flesh and fragile brain, will God be quietly weeping over the waste, even as the cross blazes out its triumphant foolishness? © Marjorie Dobson. This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission. John 2: 13-22 We play at church We play at church, one long charade, a trite religious game, and all the time the world goes by, Christ dies again in vain. The down-and-out wish for our tithes, the homeless plead and pray, while we enact our sullen rite, our crass religious play. We watch defenceless ones denied, the ones we should defend, we keep the best place for ourselves, self-righteous to the end. O God forgive our self-deceit, hypocrisy and pride. God, bring us down to dine with you and those we would deride. God, give us hearts of gracious love, to look beyond our greed, to live and love with those you call, at one in hope and need. Andrew E Pratt Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England email@example.com . 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: CM Tune: AULD LANG SYNE Poem: Anger Whip in hand and uncharacteristically angry, Jesus swept through the temple courtyard. Tables were smashed, money scattered; pigeons found freedom in flight and sacrificial animals fled to safety. His voice boomed across the rapidly emptying space – ‘this is desecration! How can strangers worship here in a place over-run with commerce and greed? My Father’s house is for prayer, not for profit! How dare you do this to it?’ And traders huddled in corners and tried to keep their eyes on their vanishing possessions. And priests flocked to witness the devastation and to gather in consultation and to plot their revenge. And strangers came out of the shadows to wonder at the nerve of this man who had said exactly what they wanted to hear, but so powerfully that he was bound to create new enemies for himself. And as Jesus turned to leave, the accused robbers spat at his departure; the opportunists gathered all the loot they could and disappeared into the shadows; and the self-righteous Jewish believers could only ask for proof of authority for his actions. They didn’t like his answer. It was completely unrealistic. But in the end it proved to be true, although not in the way they were expecting. Three days they had succeeded in destroying him, but in three days he was back. Indestructible! © Marjorie Dobson. This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission. Our vulnerable God suffered pain and temptation Our vulnerable God suffered pain and temptation, rode lightly to wealth, saw the greedy as flawed. And we, as disciples, who walk in Christ's footsteps are challenged to follow, to love, not defraud. Transparent in action, confronting injustice, upbraiding the rich, while upraising the poor. He called us to welcome the outcast, the homeless, by giving, not taking, by opening each door. Let taxes revalue the lost and discarded, ensuring the powerful will equally share; until all the world is redeemed for all people, until inequality ends as unfair. And now as we look to the world let us value, each person, each neighbour of infinite worth, through sharing and stewardship to lift up the lowly, to raise out of poverty all upon earth. Andrew Pratt Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 Metre: 12 11 12 11 Tune: STREETS OF LAREDO; ST CATHERINE’S COURT
This sudden Sabbath gives us pause
to rest and to reflect.
What is the focus of our lives
and what is its effect?
We live within a common world,
whatever race or creed;
for things maintaining life and health,
we share a common need.
For some a love of God becomes the
centre of their prayer,
but such a love’s a hollow boast
when neighbours have no care.
The early Christians took the lead
of Jesus as their style,
to hold in common all they had,
to go the second mile.
When people safe-guard all they have,
while others queue in fear,
when those who have are given more,
while hunger’s drawing near;
where is our faith, our common love,
as cries become more stark,
when poverty crowds round our door,
the future clouded, dark?
Now is the moment for us all
to live what we confess,
to live within community
the faith that we profess.
Then let us stand as one with all
we share a common birth,
that on until eternity
love holds each life on earth.
Andrew Pratt 18/3/2020 – In response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Tune: COE FEN; SOLL’S SEIN
New Tune: This.Sudden.Sabbsth.virus.2021.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.