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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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
Minds matter when we come to pray
as we are held within God’s play.
We call for things we want or need,
or simply rest: a dormant seed.
A spirit moves within each prayer,
intention draws through silent air
direct to God, to other’s needs,
or mystically, beyond our creeds
We feel detached, yet not adrift.
Sometimes our self-awareness shifts,
we seek forgiveness, need a balm,
or find, detached, a sense of calm.
No sacred place, yet words demand,
an explanation of this strand,
a shore where waves will shift and drift,
some spirit that will change and lift.
Caught up, uplifted by a light
within a dark and dim lit night,
and in this place of calm there rests,
a sense of love, ecstatic, blessed.
Andrew Pratt 19/10/2019
Tune: O WALY WALY
Written in response to Rev’d Canon Dr Joanna Collicutt seminar on The Psychology of Neuroscience and Prayer
Words © 2019 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.