Broken buildings, flooded rivers – a hymn for Pakistan amid the floods

1          Broken buildings, flooded rivers
            foaming like a liquid hell;
            jagged rocks and raging waters,
            currents twisting break the swell
            into such a tortured maelstrom;
            people reach and lives are saved;
            human beings loved and treasured
            where the waters heaved and raved.

2          Devastation, ruined farmland,
            crops destroyed compound the threat,
            images assail our conscience,
            sights we never will forget;
            here where homes had offered comfort
            degradation meets our eyes,
            while the thunder of the waters
            drowns the sound of human cries.

3          God, we cry, as lives are wasted,
            hold us when all else is lost;
            where the floods have brought destruction
            hold us, help us share this cost.
            Lift us out of dereliction,
            help us reach to those in need,
            love them till all fear has foundered,
            till they know they’re safe and freed.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)

Metre: 8 7 8 7 D

Tune: HYFRYDOL

Words © 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., adapted from ‘Swirling winds and raging oceans’ © 2017 Stainer and Bell Ltd.

Searing incandescent spirit – a hymn inspired by Hebrews 12:18-29 especially v. 12 – 29 – Hymn for the third Sunday in August

1 Searing incandescent spirit,
melting rock and churning foam,
turning chaos into comfort
formed the planet where we roam.
Now we recollect the story
of the cosmic photo-call
when the universe was forming
earth, the cradle of us all.

2 By this spirit prophets speaking
challenged power and brought down thrones,
pointed people to the Godhead,
moved them from their comfort zones;
turned their minds from selfish pleasure,
marking wrong and putting right,
led them from each ego’s desert,
from their introspective blight.

3 Now the spirit doused all people,
no-one could escape this shower;
sons and mothers, fathers, daughters,
felt this rhythmic, dancing power;
soon all nations heard the clamour,
every language known on earth
called to every nation living,
join with love and find new-birth.

Andrew E Pratt

Words © 2015 © 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
Tune: LUX EOI

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