‘With tender conviction’ – Wesley’s Catholic Spirit – a poem (or a song seeking a tune?)

Catholic Spirit 

With tender conviction I sense love is calling,

no grace is withheld, nor forgiveness repressed,

all people are held in unfathomable comfort,

this love is eternal, forever expressed.

The judgment some fear is a human construction,

for grace is a scandal for those who would judge,

they see it as fair to condemn, exact hatred,

while mercy is something they want to begrudge.

For me none is distanced from love by an action,

a word or a deed, we might not understand,

yet God’s love is wider, beyond comprehension,

if you share this creed, my friend, give me your hand!

[For me none is distanced from love by an action,

compassionate grace, could not set us apart,

for God’s love is wider, beyond comprehension,

if you share this creed, then we are of one heart.]*

*Alternative last stanza after conversation and critique by Pesky Methodists, thankyou!

© Andrew Pratt 5am 29/11/2021 - 4/12/2021

Link to A version of John Wesley’s sermon

While the nations guard their borders,

While the nations guard their borders, 
cherished cultures, ways of life,
people struggle for survival,
children die while fleeing strife.
Can we hear with calm acceptance
what the news has got to tell?
Can we claim to follow Jesus
while the world drifts into hell?

Hell is where there’s no more loving,
close at hand, not out of sight,
what we make denying others
grace of love, or hope of light.
When compassion’s drained and stranded,
voices might as well be dumb
human cries that we’ve avoided
fall on ears both blocked and numb.

Christ is calling in each murmur,
in each whisper framing need,
silence louder than God’s thunder,
loud enough to quell our greed;
yet we close our ears, our senses,
dreading every troubling fact,
lest we feel the pain of others
forcing us to rise and act.

©Andrew Pratt

Black, Gay, Christian, Queer: the church and the famine of grace – Book by Jarel Robinson-Brown – reviewed by Brunel James

If this book is as insightful as the review suggests then it ought to, not simply make us think but, change our ways within the church. The only condition I add is that I have not read the book. The review in itself ought to be recommended reading.

Read the review here

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: D

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