Trickledown – Howard Jacobson – essential listening for those who support trickledown economics – encouragement for we who oppose it https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001cq8h
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
Days now to an anniversary…and we witness strife (an understatement) in Afghanistan and this hymn, perhaps still speaks to us. That saddens me (understatement again). I thought it would lose any validity or use within days of being written…I hoped
When will we ever learn…
Twenty years ago this year the USA, and with it the world, was shaken with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. This exacerbated the polarisation of faith traditions and ideologies across the globe. Tensions increased and an ‘us and them’ mentality, already present, was exaggerated by political posturing, understandable, to a degree, in the light of what had happened. Broken bridges have still not been rebuilt but today those labelled enemies in Western nations are as much within as outside out borders and reconciliation is still needed. Ideologies are in tension with each other and this is overlaid by the threat of a pandemic. Global cooperation has never been more necessary. A hymn I wrote in 2001 within 24 hours of 9/11 is perhaps still pertinent…those we label or sense to be enemies inhabit the fabric of our own politics. Their actions are not as obvious but just as damaging…trust is at a premium…
1 God's on our side, and God will grieve at carnage, loss and death; for Jesus wept, and we will weep with every grieving breath. 2 God's on their side, the enemy, the ones we would despise; God quench our vengeance, still our pride, don't let our anger rise. 3 God's on each side, God loves us all, and through our hurt and pain G od shares the anguish, nail scarred hands reach out?love must remain. 4 God show us how to reconcile each difference and fear, that we might learn to love again and dry the other's tear. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2001 Stainer and Bell Ltd., please include any use on your CCL Licence return or contact Stainer & Bell via www.stainer.co.uk. Administered in the USA by Hope Publishing. Tunes: AMAZING GRACE; BASIE (Kleinheksel)
Some of the poetry in Words, Images and Imagination are perhaps pertinent to this situation…
The will for domination leaves carnage in its wake,
as neighbours are berated, while peace and justice quake.
A dream once spoke of freedom, embodied hope and grace,
now all of that is challenged, with hatred in its place.
Hostility is breeding as loving is outlawed.
Hypocrisy and violence once left a saviour floored.
So what is there to save us when leaders lose all sense?
When governments are faulted, we daren’t sit on the fence?
Our common human nature, the seed of human love,
must hold us at the centre beyond the push and shove,
must live beyond this moment, must meet each human need,
when other things divide us, while neighbours die or bleed.
God bind our lives together, fulfil our living dream,
that hearts might cleave together beyond each human scheme,
that love might reign triumphant in every human heart.
Now is the time for building, the time for us to start.
Andrew Pratt 2/6/2020
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.
Metre: 18.104.22.168. D set as 22.214.171.124
Tune: AURELIA; CRUGER; PASSION CHORALE;
NEW TUNE SETTING BY JOHN KLEINHEKSEL
Click link to access audio:
Not re-invention, something new.
A rim of steel bound to a wooden hoop.
Stressed by spokes from a hub.
The whole could revolve.
An axle between, harnessed these in pairs.
A frame, a chassis, could bear the weight.
A load could be carried, easily.
Food was transported.
Building materials shifted from place to place.
Loads became heavier, more extreme.
Not all things could be hefted.
Shoulder to the wheel lads.
Up the hill and down again.
Down again…they could not hold.
The runaway cart they could not watch.
A hundred metres, fifty, twenty.
Nearer the children till they heard the screams.
That’s all it took.
Spoke in the wheel.
Carnage – averted.
When will they ever learn?
In a chamber.
Progress? Bigger. Better?
winged now, cloud high.
Is it the mist blinds them?
That turns this glistering gold to dust;
that brings a different cargo now,
tossed over the side to make smithereens of all below?
A spanner in the works would save a life,
ten thousand maybe?
When will they ever learn?
But experience civilised us.
Language helps negotiation.
Jaw jaw, not war war.
The wheels of government turn, unseen.
Not covered by spats like 1930’s sports cars.
Doors close on the truth,
untruth behind the blinds…aptly named.
And rust grows, still the rust gnaws,
the squeals heard
are not really the cries of hungry children.
There is no hunger, do look the other way.
You cannot see the greed and want of power.
We have no intention to dominate and crush.
We must use your gifts carefully
sure not to share with those who might misuse or waste.
Not corruption, this is care,
We must not perpetuate old ills of profligacy.
And out of sight,
Beyond check or balance,
the wheels turn,
and who will break the spokes today?
Who will spoke the wheel…now?
Spin spanners in the works?
Who will scatter now the proud in the imagination of their hearts?
When will WE ever learn?
© Andrew Pratt 28/1/2020
*Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who resisted his government when he recognized, very early and very clearly, the dangers of Hitler’s regime. His first warning about the dangers of a leader who makes an idol of himself came in a radio address delivered in February 1933, just two days after Hitler took office.
In an essay written in that same year, Bonhoeffer stated that the church has the right and responsibility to ask whether the state is fulfilling its duty to preserve justice and order. He wrote that the church has the right and responsibility to aid victims of the state, even if they are not Christians. And that the church has the right and responsibility to jam the spokes of the wheel of the state if it is creating too much or too little law. Jamming the spokes, he wrote, “is not just to bind up the wounds of the victims beneath the wheel but to seize the wheel itself. (Bonhoeffer on Resistance: The Word Against the Wheel, Michael P. DeJonge Oxford, 2018, P58)