Great God, your love has held our lives – Words to Parry’s Jerusalem

Great God, your love has held our lives
through all the years down to this day.
Your constant presence held us fast:
remain with us we plead and pray.
We’ve seen the ruins left by war,
the tumbled buildings, street by street;
some heard the voices that they loved
and cried for those they’d no more meet.

As time moves on some memories fade,
some griefs we shared lie in the past;
for others pain is just as sharp,
we know their hurt will always last.
Some human acts have swept away
our partners, parents, children, friends,
some people we had never known;
the memory lives and never ends.

Beyond this day we try to live:
a sinew of each life survives,
but where is God in hurt and hate?
The questions stay to haunt our lives.
Help us to build a better world
not fuelled by vengeance, fed by greed;
a world in which we all can live,
what ever colour, race or creed.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, 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.

Published by

Andrew Pratt

Andrew Pratt was born in Paignton, Devon, England in 1948.

2 thoughts on “Great God, your love has held our lives – Words to Parry’s Jerusalem”

  1. Thank you Andrew for revisiting “ Jerusalem” and making it usable to us for the Remembrance season. However I have a purely practical concern that the first line is almost identical to the first line of Brian Wren’s hymn “Great God your love has called us here” (Singing the Faith, 499). I am only concerned that this may cause confusion.


    1. Agreed. In mitigation after writing 1500 hymn texts that’s not surprising but something I try to avoid. Interesting that Wesley did it with his own words – ‘What shall I do my God to love’. It might also have something to do with my admiration of Brian Wren’s writing! Intentional ‘copying’ would be plagiarism. Timothy Dudley-Smith once referred to this unintentional use as ‘allusion’. But at the end of the day I’m just trying to justify myself. You’re right but I think I’ll stay with it!


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