Vision – based on Ezekiel 37: 1-14 And I looked as I led worship and saw the dried and brittle bones of the scattered few before me and there was no life. Too old, too desiccated, too worn out, or lived out ever to be able to stir again. And I wept as I looked and prayed for answers, but my heart told me it was too late; the life had gone. There was acceptance of an unchanging future; the stillness of lethargy and emptiness of spirit. And I looked again and saw my prayers were not to empty air for a breath of God moved among the weary; new energy began to stir; movement was discernible and purpose was born again. And God had shown me, in spite of all my doubts, that hope is never completely dead and there can be new life, even in old bones. © Marjorie Dobson published on Worship Cloud Used with permission.
When language demeans… poem
When language just demeans ones we should love we know that we we have lost our common sense, we leave the lost diminished without care, and hatred permeates the present tense.
And in this moment evil can be felt, while silence is an option to avoid, a voiceless church denies the life of Christ, as neighbours face an unremitting void.
© Andrew Pratt 12/3/2023
Great Budworth Churchyard 8/7/2022
Great Budworth Churchyard 8/7/2022 Andrew Pratt
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 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. Metre: 18.104.22.168 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.
Lent 3 – Two hymns a Meditation and a Poem
Lent 3 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25 Poem: One Big Question When worldly wisdom and superior knowledge and intellectual snobbery and informed atheism have died the death of earthly flesh and fragile brain, will God be quietly weeping over the waste, even as the cross blazes out its triumphant foolishness? © Marjorie Dobson. This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission. John 2: 13-22 We play at church We play at church, one long charade, a trite religious game, and all the time the world goes by, Christ dies again in vain. The down-and-out wish for our tithes, the homeless plead and pray, while we enact our sullen rite, our crass religious play. We watch defenceless ones denied, the ones we should defend, we keep the best place for ourselves, self-righteous to the end. O God forgive our self-deceit, hypocrisy and pride. God, bring us down to dine with you and those we would deride. God, give us hearts of gracious love, to look beyond our greed, to live and love with those you call, at one in hope and need. Andrew E Pratt Words © 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England email@example.com . 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: CM Tune: AULD LANG SYNE Poem: Anger Whip in hand and uncharacteristically angry, Jesus swept through the temple courtyard. Tables were smashed, money scattered; pigeons found freedom in flight and sacrificial animals fled to safety. His voice boomed across the rapidly emptying space – ‘this is desecration! How can strangers worship here in a place over-run with commerce and greed? My Father’s house is for prayer, not for profit! How dare you do this to it?’ And traders huddled in corners and tried to keep their eyes on their vanishing possessions. And priests flocked to witness the devastation and to gather in consultation and to plot their revenge. And strangers came out of the shadows to wonder at the nerve of this man who had said exactly what they wanted to hear, but so powerfully that he was bound to create new enemies for himself. And as Jesus turned to leave, the accused robbers spat at his departure; the opportunists gathered all the loot they could and disappeared into the shadows; and the self-righteous Jewish believers could only ask for proof of authority for his actions. They didn’t like his answer. It was completely unrealistic. But in the end it proved to be true, although not in the way they were expecting. Three days they had succeeded in destroying him, but in three days he was back. Indestructible! © Marjorie Dobson. This may be used personally or for local worship, but not published elsewhere without permission. Our vulnerable God suffered pain and temptation Our vulnerable God suffered pain and temptation, rode lightly to wealth, saw the greedy as flawed. And we, as disciples, who walk in Christ's footsteps are challenged to follow, to love, not defraud. Transparent in action, confronting injustice, upbraiding the rich, while upraising the poor. He called us to welcome the outcast, the homeless, by giving, not taking, by opening each door. Let taxes revalue the lost and discarded, ensuring the powerful will equally share; until all the world is redeemed for all people, until inequality ends as unfair. And now as we look to the world let us value, each person, each neighbour of infinite worth, through sharing and stewardship to lift up the lowly, to raise out of poverty all upon earth. Andrew Pratt Words © 2019 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 © Stainer & Bell Ltd Metre: 12 11 12 11 Tune: STREETS OF LAREDO; ST CATHERINE’S COURT