As we move towards Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lent, a moment to pause. By the time you read this the tension in Ukraine may have eased or increased. Let this be a moment to remember that our faith has a worldwide perspective as we share words written in Poland while listening to a lecture by Joachim Waloszek on Polish hymns. 1 The words we sing are wrung from broken hearts, are formed within the soil of time and place, are rooted in our history and this time, yet ring with changeless mystery and grace. 2 Our treasure is the very grace of God, the pearl that we would lose our lives to hold, this gift we guard with frail yet gentle hands, to share among God's people young or old. 3 We sing with others met along the way who speak our language or another tongue, who walk beside us on the road to heaven, who stumble, fly or fall till life is won. 4 The words we sing now whisper sighs of joy, transcending all we fear within this place, they ring with endless, everlasting hope, they celebrate the freedom of God's grace. Andrew Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2009 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
This last week some of us have remembered Jesus being presented in the temple. Soon our readings turn to the calling of disciples. We follow in their footsteps. As we do we are presented, not just with things we should believe, but how we live, the values we should hold.
1 God's commandments link together justice, mercy, love and grace; elements to guide the framing of our laws within this place. Yet the laws and legal judgments that we form through human thought, all too easily diminish values that the Christ had sought.
2 As we follow in his footsteps as disciples, let us find, ways to live in peace together, ways that bring God's grace to mind; ways of gracious peaceful living, that might spread throughout the earth, ways of God's audacious giving: let the spirit find new birth.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) 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: 8 7 8 7 D Tune: BETHANY (Smart)
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,
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.
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.