Advent 1 – hymn – This is the time of waiting

Advent – a time of waiting – more than a calendar with sweets, more than an extra candle lit each Sunday, perhaps a time to move from darkness into light, from penitence to praise?

A hymn inspired by Isaiah 2:2

2:2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.

1	This is the time of waiting,
	the calm before the storm,
	the time of Advent judgement,
	the coming of the dawn;
	a time of recollection,
	of Christ's audacious hope,
	beyond imagination,
	outside our human scope.

2	The nations will be gathered,
	the age will be fulfilled,
	the judgement be enacted,
	as Christ had hoped and willed.
	But for this consummation
	such birth-pangs will be felt, 
	like rupturing of wine-skins, 
	the earth will heave and melt. 

3	For love to be exalted, 
	for hatred to be banned, 
	our human goals must shatter,
	division must be spanned. 
	A change of mind is needed 
	as we are turned around, 
	to move from desecration, 
	to find love's solid ground. 

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2018 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: 7 6 7 6 D
Tune: AURELIA

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.

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