As the Commonwealth Games begin, a hymn for reflection

The Commonwealth was built more on the spread of the British Empire than sharing all things in common – wealth was not common but often taken by the rich from the poor. The Games, however, ideally, offer the opportunity for us to come together, hopefully, in a more equal way even if we still need to heal the hurt of colonialism.

1 A commonwealth of love
where all are held by grace,
it seems idyllic on the page,
could it infect this place?
Within that upper room
were people just like us,
but meeting Christ in faith and love
transformed their depth of trust.

2 And when we meet with God
we cannot but be changed,
for God confronts our doubt and fear
as lives are rearranged.
This day the change begins,
the vision is fulfilled,
and life will never be the same
where love can be distilled.

3 So let us grasp this hope
that set the world alight,
that love can never be destroyed
and fear is put to flight.
A commonwealth of love:
let’s risk a seed of grace
to bring this vision into life
within each time and place.

Andrew E Pratt

Words © 2012 © 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: DSM Tune: FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Beyond where light can image (The God of cosmic question) – in the ‘light’ of the first image from the James Webb telescope

Beyond where light can image,
can infra-red probe truth:
dark matter that might harbour
what set creation loose,

where human senses lead us,
through all they analyse,
from arrogance to wonder,
to spiritual surprise?

But senses have their limits:
unanswered yet there lies
the single, deepest question
our intellect supplies.

Yet faith can proffer insight:
the Christ of time and space
speaks of a God incarnate
born in a squalid place.

Alive within our compass,
upon this ravaged earth,
the God of cosmic question
surprised us once in birth!

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) (amended 2019 & 2022 by author)

Originally The God of cosmic question
© 1991, alt 2022 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 Good Samaritan …and then some…a hymn

The parable of the Good Samaritan points us to an unexpected neighbour (Luke 10:25-37). Elsewhere Jesus explains that whenever we greet the least of our neigbours we welcome him. And what if instead of seeing the Samaritan as the model of Jesus we turn the parable around…that it is Jesus in the person of the one left injured? It is not just angels that we entertain unawares…

1 Anonymous you come among the nations,
outside the door of synagogue or church,
and what you say will shake the world’s foundations,
will make the sinner sing, the righteous lurch.

2 You come with grace, not seeking any favours,
except a cup of water for your thirst,
and those dismissing you with other ravers
will find that they are last and others first.

3 The ones who offer you a share of shelter,
or visit you when you are locked inside,
who pause a moment on life’s helter-skelter,
will be rewarded for their lack of pride.

4 The ones who care, not simply for your beauty,
who hold you in the sickness of your age,
who walk with you beyond the call of duty
are ones who share the true Messiah’s stage.

5 ‘You clothed me in my nakedness and squalor’,
said Christ to those who fully understood
that love cannot equate with pound or dollar,
is found in acts of simply doing good.

Andrew Pratt, Words © 2015 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.
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tune: INTERCESSOR

A hymn reflecting on Luke Chapter 10 appropriate for a divided world.

Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs to places where he would go. Where they were greeted with hospitality, there they were to rest. Hospitality of welcome was the key hope. I wonder who would welcome us today – if we arrived with ‘no purse, no bag, no sandals’ – destitute? And who, like this, would we welcome?

1	We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
	all people are our neighbours, none denied;
	the voices of all nations heard beside us:
	all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.
	
2	The wall between the peoples has been broken,
	in love of God divisions disappear;
	as seen in Christ we recognise our neighbours
	We greet unusual faces without fear.
	
3	We celebrate each difference God has given;
	each nation, black and white, both straight and gay;
	the able and the challenged God has offered
	that we might share together, learn and pray.
	
4	We  meet with those who paint a different picture,
	who value God in words not yet our own,
	in dialogue we offer one another
	a vision we could never find alone.
	
5	This God we seek is greater than each difference,
	the source and ground of all variety,
	the centre and the soul of all creation
	erasing hate with love to set us free.

Andrew Pratt, Words © 2008 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.
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tune: INTERCESSOR

Idyllic beaches break the waves – a hymn relating to migration and asylum – sadly still pertinent..

These images will not be diminished by persecuting migrants, nor by making a false distinction between those seeking asylum and so called economic migrants. We need to welcome as fellow human beings people coming to our shores who are fleeing fear or poverty and to provide them with safe passage to our shores and a humanitarian reception.

1	Idyllic beaches break the waves 
	as bathers line the shore
	This view of peace is now disturbed:
	an aftermath of war.
	The ones who fled from lives they knew 
	have gone in fear and dread, 
	the ships that offered hope to them 
	are sunk with many dead.
 
2	And where is God amid the swell 
	where tides still ebb and flow,
	unfeeling of this loss of life,
	as others come and go?
	The commerce of the world goes on. 
	Can we ignore the pain?
	It is as though we're blind to see 
	Christ crucified again.
 
3	The ones who drown are ones we own 
	as neighbours we should love;
	how can we turn our eyes away, 
	avert our gaze above?
	For when our politics conspires 
	to shut the door to grace 
	it is as though we turn away 
	from Jesus' tortured face.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2015 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.

CMD
Tune: KINGSFOLD