When strangers are unwelcome – those needing asylum

When strangers are unwelcome 

When strangers are unwelcome 
the church’s heart beats slow, 
the lost who run from danger 
have nowhere left to go. 
No words of grace are spoken 
while, looking on the world, 
the heart of God is broken: 
love’s banner tightly furled.

The people at our borders 
who need compassion now, 
reach out for care and shelter, 
but rules will not allow 
these ones to seek asylum:
we put up legal walls.
Before we’ve even met them 
we disregard their calls.

Then images from scripture speak 
judgment on the church, 
and call for clearer thinking 
as values seize or lurch. 
The Christ that we would worship 
would turn the world around, 
and shake us from our comfort, 
our certain, solid ground.

Then shatter walls and windows 
and let the church reach out, 
and not with Psalms and anthems, 
but anger, let us shout 
condemning every outrage 
that demonises life, 
and break the laws that damage, 
evoking human strife.

Andrew Pratt 30/7/2021
Words © 2021 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; KINGS LYNN

Inspired by a front page item in the Methodist Recorder 30/7/2021 involving an interview with Rev Inderjit Bhogal.



Where is the care for the silent care-giver?

Where is the care for the silent care-giver,
drowning in tragedy, lost or alone?
Where is our God in such life and such living?
Here in our pain, or remote on some throne?

God, are you deaf to our crying, our pleading?
Why are you absent when we feel so lost?
Come to the centre of need and exhaustion,
help us feel valued, while sharing the cost.

Here in frustration, in folly, when kindness
seems to be hollow, not grasping the fact:
inside our hearts may be broken or dying.
God bring your mending to lives that have cracked.

Then for tomorrow may hope that is buried
push through our anger, our darkness and night,
opening our hearts to divine love and healing,
leading from hopelessness out into light.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Tune: STEWARDSHIP
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Words © 2014 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.

The care of all we seek or see – another response to the Coronavirus crisis: Psalm 121 – new link to a setting by John Kleinheksel added

The care of all we seek or see
was put into our hands,
but through our human arrogance
we thought we ruled all lands.
There was no thing beyond our grasp,
nor task beyond our means,
but limits hold us, keep us back,
deep-rooted in our genes.

Within a world of tooth and claw,
competing for a place,
we thought that we could dominate:
a mighty, human race.
But shocked, we should have recognized
our place within a plan,
we should have used our intellect
to prove our finite span.

We thought we were invincible
but now we understand,
a virus that we cannot see
could mark our final stand.
‘Pride comes before a fall’, they say,
and we were very proud,
but now we rue the day we spoke,
to state our case out loud.

At last it seems we need to pause,
to understand our plight,
to own our vulnerability,
to walk into the light:
Great God, however we believe,
we plead, we cry, we call,
come hold us, keep us, lift us up,
God catch us as we fall.
Andrew Pratt 20/3/2020
Metre: CMD
Tune: BETHLEHEM; CLAUDIUS (Fink)
Tune setting: The.Care.of.All.We.Seek.Virus
Words © 2020 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.