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: 184.108.40.206 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.
When the weeping of the nations fills our hearts with holy dread, when a virus rings with pity those who cannot reach their dead, God is in our consternation, weeping by each sufferer’s bed. Distanced, lacking human comfort, no more in a mother’s arms, fearful faces peer through visors watching, even breathing harms, knowing only humane kindness brings the peace that heals, disarms. God bring strength in human weakness, give us grace that we might see through the mists of mortal blindness how to live through agony, how through quiet compassion, silence, we might mark our empathy. Andrew Pratt 31/12/2020 Words © 2021 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. Tune: PICARDY Metre: 87 87 87
Is this the day that dawns today, when all the world stands still,
when human lives are challenged in their arrogant, self-will?
Is this a time to sound again the grace which from our youth
Has brought us to this point in time to face eternal truth?
We wonder at the rhythms of creation we observe,
the genesis of all we see, the laws we sense and serve,
yet when we read in scripture of the wonders of this course,
we tend to shut our eyes to one last day of rest at source.
Now is the moment action takes the place of hollow sighs,
the sighs that speak of emptiness, of loneliness and lies;
great God, within this Sabbath rest we question and explore,
is this a time when you recede, a tide drawn from the shore?
Now is a time of deep compassion, caring and concern,
when every person needs the love that money cannot earn.
This is a time when values shift and search for solid ground,
to put aside our selfishness to go where grace is found.
© Andrew Pratt 17/3/2020
I have already found the political emphasis on economics in the face of the Coronavirus to be rather tiresome. Surely care of one another ought to be foremost and enabling the security of every person ought to take priority over all else.
Hard to complain,
presents and tinsel
adorn and clutter,
in ‘tales of old’ the candles gutter.
Replete from the feast,
why should I moan?
Nor yet lament,
‘my God, my God…why are we forsaking them?’
Washed by a tsunami,
shaken by earthquakes,
threatened by fire, dust, lava.
And our compassion rises,
as soon is dissipated.
on our shores,
tiny rubber dinghies bring a ‘threatening cargo’
of migrant people who,
so says the lie,
‘present a crisis’.
Voices are strident or silent,
and the slaughter of the innocents passes,
in our churches.
Yet still they come.
And we, anything but innocent,
‘standby to repel boarders’
instead of asking
‘why do they come?’
And facing with honesty the truth
that people do not run into danger
unless running from something worse?
Avoiding eye contact, I draw patterns in wet sand.
And lamenting, I weep,
‘my God, my God…why are we forsaking them?
Andrew Pratt 31/12/2018