‘This sudden Sabbath gives us pause’ – a hymn response to the Coronavirus crisis – link to new tune by John Kleinheksel added

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.

No insurance – for Australia

These crazy flames lick and lap at all that ranges round us,
the trappings of our wealth,
experience and existence.
At birth we can’t anticipate our existential ending,
the length of life not ours to count or measure.
But then we face eternity,
or nothingness,
depending on belief.
Like night’s thief, flames hotter than hell’s painting are not some distant image,
but sharpened fronds dissembling each dwelling.
And if we leave reality says,
‘there is no return’.
Can faith uphold us through this conflagration?
Survival walks naked of all that we have known,
valued or possessed.
That is the option open to us.
Our Hobson has no choice.
So if we die we will know what rests beyond this life.
Remaining so much is loss or lost.
Whichever path we walk pray this,
pray only this,
that now and on beyond this moment
the love a letter writer once described
will hold,
enfold
and keep us still through all that is to come.
And no insurance…just the faith…

Words © Andrew Pratt 4/1/2019

A topsy-turvy, upturned world – the time to make decisions – Magnificat for election time

A topsy-turvy, upturned world,
where values are distorted,
the first is last and last is first
with everything contorted.
The rich are begging at the door
while ones they were despising
are given charge of Godly wealth,
in stature they are rising.

Magnificat has come to stay,
the proud have been extinguished;
the humble poor are lifted high,
their poverty relinquished.
The reign of God has come to pass
rebutting our world’s choices,
each one that we would count as last
within this time rejoices.

And will we ever find a place
with pride and wealth rejected,
or will hypocrisy deny
our need to be accepted?
The choice is ours, the crisis dawns,
the time to make decisions,
to stand with God or walk alone
within this world’s divisions.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
8 7 8 7 D Tune: CONSTANCE (Sullivan)
Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, 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.

In the Bible sinful action sees God’s punishment unfurled – https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

In the Bible sinful action
sees God’s punishment unfurled.
Seismic faults can find their reason
in God’s shaking of the world.
Dualism, human freedom,
‘best of all’ this fractured earth?
Does God punish us for actions
which negate our human worth?

But today does retribution,
witnessed through earth’s fractured crust,
make much sense of God in action
when our cities turn to dust?
Do our people crushed and broken
act as warning, point to God?
Or is good news, clouded, hidden,
buried deep beneath the sod?

Much like Job, we seek an answer,
craft theology with care,
looking for a simple reason,
find new scapegoats standing there.
If we were more deeply honest
we might find it’s Christ who dies,
God who suffers in the present
when we hide behind our lies.

When we value wealth or nation,
see resources to be owned,
see the poor as simple objects,
their humanity dethroned;
then what may be seen as natural
rests on our incompetence,
or on human greed and evil
and on loving’s reticence.

Tune: LUX EOI (StF 400/764)
or ABBOTSLEIGH (UMC 584)
Metre: 8.7.8.7 D

Written in response to Rev’d Professor David Chester’s Seminar on Earthquakes, Volcanoes and God: Theological Perspectives on Natural Disaster
Andrew Pratt, 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.

The powerless whisper in the void

The powerless whisper in the void,
the powerful take the stage.
God give us courage and the voice
to share and speak our rage.
Then may that rage, inspired by grace,
mould, challenge and persuade,
until decision makers hear
and love those they betrayed.

When wealth is allied to the cause
of politics or class,
God give insightful empathy
to clear the misted glass,
to help us see with clearer sight,
the way another lives,
to recognise that we can change
the fate that hist’ry gives.

Give credence to the claim we make:
we share a common birth,
that all are equal under God
upon this ravaged earth.
Let actions magnify the words,
the arguments we make,
until decision makers feel
their old assumptions quake.

Andrew Pratt 1/11/2019
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.

Tune: SOLL’S SEIN; KINGSFOLD
Metre: CMD

Tax Justice Sunday Hymn – Our vulnerable God – www.catj.org.uk

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 29/4/2019
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.
Tune: STREETS OF LAREDO

The care of our planet, the threat of extinction – Hymn

The care of our planet, the threat of extinction,
alerts us to need to be stewards of the earth:
this place of great beauty, our God given tenure,
the place of our nurture, the globe of our birth.

This place we must guard for each new generation,
to leave as we found it or, better, restored;
to share each resource without greed or pretension,
not barring the needy, not plunder, nor hoard.

The  banquet of God is for all of God’s people,
communion companions are both rich and poor,
our ultimate end will remove all distinctions,
no birthright or creed can obstruct heaven’s door.

God’s common wealth love can encompass all nations,
but here in this place we must all make a start:
a life of acceptance of sister and brother,
the practice of loving, a God given art.

Andrew Pratt 1/5/2019
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.
Written for the 140th Anniversary of St John’s Methodist Church Whitchurch, Shropshire.
Tunes: STREETS OF LAREDO; ST CATHERINES COURT