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

Once a prophet pictured Israel – A hymn inspired by Isaiah 5: 1-7 for the second Sunday in August


1 Once a prophet pictured Israel,
like a vineyard, overgrown,
no more fruitful, judged and broken,
left to ruin, overthrown.


2 In the tone hear disappointment
in the prophet’s call and cry,
seeing bloodshed wound his nation,
justice now a living lie.


3 Trampled waste land, good for nothing,
barren, fruitless, destitute,
is this now the way God sees us,
arid earth that feeds no root?


4 Or are we a fruitful people,
sown in faith to nurture grace,
bringing hope to all the nations,
love sustained in every place?


Andrew Pratt
Words © 2011 © 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
Tune: CROSS OF JESUS

Hiroshima Day Poem

Hiroshima Day Poem – Hiroshima Day is designated as August 6th

This can be used as a responsive prayer

As we remember holocaust,
in horror disbelieving
the history of the human race,
we share each other’s grieving;
God purge us of hypocrisy,
of all our self-deceiving.


Our language is inadequate,
unfit for the expression
of hatred that we visualise,
humanity’s confession;
we hurry headlong into hell,
we witness love’s regression.

The deepest, distant agony
that throbs through all creation,
the silent tears that quietly fall
in every generation,
are signs of our humanity,
our need for re-creation.

God give us strength to make a pledge
to move beyond contention,
to see, in each, humanity.
Through greater good intention,
God, move us toward a purer love,
a gracious intervention.

Andrew E Pratt

Words © 2003 © 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.

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

Climate change…theology…iPad art… adapted from ArtServe Magazine Issue 33 Summer 2022

I was reflecting on creation and climate change, global warming. Tablet art enabled me to produce fiery images.

This would not be impossible with watercolour but here I was able to swirl colour together. If anything went wrong I had the facility to erase and correct. With watercolour this is more difficult. In the first image I went to Genesis 1 for inspiration the image of the earth ‘without form and void’. Science, cosmology, art and the Bible enabled me to envisage creation as a conflagration, a ‘big bang’, with interrelated matter and energy being brought into being. But then, on reflection, planets condense to spherical, or near spherical, form and so the first image is that swirling orb, formless but seeking an equilibrium and at the centre of the void will be Earth…or…

Without form and void…

As scripture unfolds, epiphanies, revelations of the divine, ‘the Other’, are described. They take many forms. One such narrative again brings together matter and energy in an enigmatic spectacle with no matter being consumed within an evanescent fiery, burning bush. ‘The Other’ has no name, utters no words, yet converts, forms and inspires humanity to action.

Burning bush

The colour palette of the creation image was retained for a burning bush. The flaming fire was ‘painted first’. Different tools allow the colours to merge in a variety of ways. The merge can be smooth, watery, bubbled or perhaps rough edged.  The bush was then lined in over the fire and the ground finished last.

Beyond the life of Christ, through incarnation and resurrection there is further revelation of the nature of God. Pentecost offers that image of fire again, with its contradictory character of energy, warmth and destruction, yet power and inspiration.

Pentcost or…

The fire was, again, painted first. The black, square blocks were formed using a template like a page frame but then filled using a fill tool that you may be familiar with in photo-editing software. The sky was similarly filled in, as it had been in the burning bush image. Subconsciously the colour I had chosen for this was very much reminiscent of some of David Hockney’s choice of pigments.

In the same way that scriptural and human inspiration interact in forming the images, paradoxically for humanity, that same divine presence of fire in creation and revelation offers humanity the capacity for self-destruction as global warming engulfs what might have been the ‘City of God’.

And is this the anticipated end of humanity? ‘Ashes to Ashes’? And is this the end, not just of each of us individually, but of all creation? Humanity’s knowledge, grasping the divine gift obliterates humanity itself while creation collapses back into the void from whence it came…

For the final image I used a copy tool to take the first image. I then used a sandpaper tool to scuff and scrape at the ‘surface’ of the image. I darkened it, mixing and merging colour to suggest, not just our planet, but creation returning to void and chaotic darkness.

Ashes to ashes…

Text and images © Andrew Pratt 2022 adapted from ArtServe Magazine Issue 33 Summer 2022