A time for decisions – a hymn – What are the gifts we would treasure most highly

John Wesley once referred to the Methodists as ‘a peculiar people’. One of our peculiarities is treating September as the beginning of a New Year. 

At another level we live in a world in conflict and, in the UK with a government with a new Prime Minister.
All of us together are faced with decisions.
 
At a time of decision for the people of Israel Moses challenged them – ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live’. (Deuternomy30: 19)

The following hymn asks what choosing life might mean for us today.

1	What are the gifts we would treasure most highly:
	freedom or justice or money or wealth;
	food for the hungry, or drink for the thirsty,
	love for our children, or power, or health?
	 
2	Once God had given a choice to the people:
	they could decide to choose life or choose death.
	They were encouraged towards life's enhancement,
	shunning the ways that would quench life and breath.
	 
3	What does it mean for ourselves at this moment,
        challenged by God, as to what we should choose?
	What does ‘life’ mean, for each friend, for each neighbour, 
        what will encourage and never abuse?
	 
4	Now at each crisis, each time of decision,
	save us from selfishness, things that oppress;
	help us, O God, to be wise, never grasping,
	help us to cherish those things you would bless.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2011 alt by the author 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.
alt 2022 by the author. 
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tune: EPIPHANY HYMN

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

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.