Always missing, never grasping, hope amid this shifting sea, coast and haven seem remote now, too far off to harbour me. Yet those fishermen are telling news that I can't comprehend, news that Jesus is still living, hasn't met his final end. But I saw his body hanging silhouetted like a sail, blood was draining, rigor rising, movement quietened, life gone pale. Now they say that sail is filling, spirit billows drive him on, Christ is cresting all disaster, life returns and death is gone. Yet unless I see the bow wave, feel the tiller in my hand, sense the tautness of the lanyard, I can hardly understand. Source of wind and wave, my sailor, give me faith to grasp this news, you are living, death defying, heaven, earth and joy will fuse. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2015 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: 8 7 8 7 D Tune: LEWIS FOLK MELODY
From Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal, former President of the Methodist Conference, and shared with his permission and encouragement:
“The gospel does not go from crucifixion to crucifixion. It goes from crucifixion to resurrection. Anything that goes from suffering to suffering contradicts the gospel. The Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament is a case in point. It treats already suffering people with more suffering and humiliation. It treats people as deserving and undeserving refugees. The criteria to determine refugee status is not fleeing suffering but the means of travel and routes taken. Sending people seeking sanctuary to Rwanda is inhumane, cruel, morally bankrupt and theologically nonsense. It demonises harmless people, dehumanises human beings, sanctions hatred and hostility. It takes people from crucifixion to crucifixion. We need safe routes for all refugees, from anywhere in the world. Government has a duty by UN Refugee Convention to provide safe care and hospitality for all refugees. Justice, mercy and humility, not injustice, cruelty and humiliation for all the crucified people of the world. This is the challenge of redemption, resurrection, restoration.”
God is among all the cries of the dying,
buried in fear amid hurt and disdain,
breathing the dust of destruction, despairing,
holding each mother and feeling her pain.
God, like a mother, once torn from her children,
weeps in the darkness, has nowhere to turn,
fenced by the horror and starved by indiff’rence,
nations watch blindly while homes fall or burn.
God, stand beside us, God mother and comfort,
God you despaired as you hung, bled and died,
now in this moment, God hold and enfold us,
interpose Love where all love was denied.
Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2022 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.
11 10 11 10
This hymn, by Graham Adams, arose from an ‘Empire’ module at Luther King House in Manchester last week. Graham says, “feel free to use as you wish!’ It connects with the Passion/Easter season. It was particularly stimulated by a discussion around whether ‘the alternative realm’ (God’s basileia/kingdom/empire) is ‘a quaint dream’ or something more ‘threatening’ – and the destabilising language of poetry spoke to this”.
The people wanted soldiers so hope might come as curse, to smash the occupation – but change turned up as Verse: the poetry of yeasting, the parabolic sword, no match for Pax Romana* and yet this Lamb still roared. Although it claims possession of mind and heart and soul, the Empire’s grip has limits – it can’t control the whole: the surplus lives as Poem for those with ears to hear, resisting final closure, declaring what is near: This dream of re-creation, this threat of life set free, disturbing tame religion, confounding how we see: it won’t succumb to cliché where purities abound, but glimpsed in seeds’ potential, it ruptures solid ground. Where empires grow by violence, where systems blame the last and close down other futures by editing the past, the Poem can’t be silenced, though quietly it dies, and dances through the fissures to teach us how to rise! Graham Adams (2021) … prompted by the conversations during the Empire module Potential tunes: THORNBURY, CRUGER… *Pax Romana is ‘the peace of Rome’ secured through military violence; if it’s easier to replace this with ‘crucifixion’, the meaning still works.