How can we sing of that sad conflagration

How can we sing of that sad conflagration:
cauldron of misery, mud, gas and fire?
Young men had gone, some inspired and excited,
then all too soon hanging dead on the wire.

Here amid blood tattered, writhing humanity,
can we find Christ? Is this glorious, this death?
Here, where the best of a whole generation
gave of their all and had breathed their last breath?

They lived and died through the lie of their ‘betters’,
others had said that this war would end war.
Subsequent history unfolded the story,
showing humanity hankers for more.

God let us learn how to love every neighbour,
living our lives in the style of the cross,
valuing others as sisters and brothers,
giving our all, never counting the loss.

Then is the Spirit of Christ found among us,
then are we worthy to stand in his name,
then we can say that we truly are Christian,
love is the evidence, this is our claim.
Andrew E Pratt
Words © 2018 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
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.
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In response to the Grenfell Tower fire

Through a glass darkly the smoke is obscuring
flames that are burning – hell come upon earth;
hell made by hands with a human intention –
housing? entrapment? a prison of death?

People of all faiths cry out in their anguish,
horror and anger inflamed by their grief;
others reach out through the fierce conflagration,
risking their lives just to offer relief.

This is salvation in practical action,
not some theology – heartless – obscure;
hands reaching out like the strong hands of Jesus,
offering love, but can hope be secure?
© Andrew Pratt 15/6/2017

In every face that stares out from the manger

In every face that stares out from the manger,
each person bears the image of our God,
in Christ is human flesh affirmed and honoured,
for God has walked where human feet have trod.

In every face of youth, of age, each baby,
uplifted by the earth life of the Christ:
the stable bed, the cross of common torture,
marked off his life, these markers once sufficed.

And this we show, when we live incarnation,
to make God’s presence real for humankind,
the wine we drink, the bread so freely broken
speak of the love of God so richly mined.

And those who live and suffer in this moment,
the dispossessed, oppressed throughout the earth,
are raised beyond frustration and existence,
to know, in living, their uncommon worth.
© Stainer & Bell Ltd Please include on CCL returns if you have one. Andrew Pratt 28/11/2011