A hymn for reflection and penitence at the New Year’s turning – How can people praise…

1	How can people praise the Godhead,
	save in humble penitence?
	How can we avoid the verdict
	of these years' indifference?
	If our God has come among us
	then we have betrayed a call;
	out of selfish pride our grasping
	puts our gain ahead of all.

2	If that God was born among us
	then the people of that birth
	suffered taunting and derision,
	persecution on this earth.
	Driven from their given cradle,
	scattered seeds upon the wind;
	Christians led that desecration
	and, we wonder, will it end?

3	Holocaust, crusades, apartheid,
	inquisition, slavery,
	all have had a Christian presence,
	justifying butchery;
	every century adds locations
	pictured on a map or chart
	scenes of human devastation
	hatred honed, become an art.

4	Now we stand and, just like Peter,
	we've no cause to strut or crow,
	we are self-deceived if claiming
	righteousness, our debts you know:
	debts of love we owe each other,
	debts we never can repay;
	for two thousand years' denial
	Lord forgive, for this we pray.

5	Enter rooms of desolation,
	bring your love to cleanse, to spare;
	'Peace be with you', once you uttered,
	let us hear and let us share;
	bring us from this darkest moment
	into dazzling, gleaming light,
	as the new year’s day is dawning
	end the horror of our night.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2001(alt 2022)  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 D

Published by

Andrew Pratt

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

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