On the sidewalk – a song of poverty and loneliness

I am posting this midway through Christian Aid Week. We tend to focus on needs which are abroad. Often there are people on our doorstep, in villages, towns and cities where we live who have needs which are profound. Perhaps this is where we will meet Christ. This song was written form the perspective of such a person. Hal Hopson set it with a tune for America. Some years later a (now retired) Methodist Presbyter set it and recorded it and it was published in his book, Reach.

1	On the sidewalk, by the shop-front 
        [On the pavement, by the shop-front - alt line]
	I laid down my mat to sleep;
	tears of sadness welled within me,
	thoughts of all that might have been.

2	Lost within this hidden city
	where the subway hums and groans,
	left unnoticed and defenceless,
	God forsaken and alone.

3	Can you sense my thrumming heart-beat,
	can you feel a reason why
	in your wealth you're just as lonely,
	waiting for your time to die?

4	Maybe I should look more clearly
	through the eyes of given hope,
	maybe you could stoop more lowly
	that together we may cope.

Andrew E Pratt; Words © 2002 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: 8 7 8 7 Trochaic
Tunes: RECONCILIATION (Hopson) published in Whatever Name or Creed, 2002.
SIDEWALK (Sharrocks) © 2010 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk  
published in Reach with accompanying CD.
A recording from the CD can be found here.

At the census in the city – We welcome Christmas Day

1	At the census in the city, 
	at the crossing place of life, 
	where the homeless and abandoned 
	share the scars of human strife; 
	mid the rubble and the ruins 
	shedding God's prophetic light
	see, a star is softly shining 
	through the horror of the night.

2	In the cross of shifting shadows 
	see a mother and her child, 
	see the wetness of his features, 
	freshly born, so not yet filed. 
	In a world of cold statistics 
	yet another mouth to feed, 
	for the parents' love holds tension 
	with a calling, crying need.

3	So from Bethlehem in history 
	to this present place and time, 
	God has entered human anguish, 
	sung in tune to human rhyme; 
	yes, the baby that we welcome, 
	yes, the Christ of Palestine, 
	are as one, we seal remembrance 
	in a feast of bread and wine. 	
        [signature of love's design.]* 

4	For the ruin of the manger, 
	this prefig'ring of the cross, 
	offers Christ as our relation 
	in our chaos and our loss, 
	puts the Christ into the present, 
	places God in human hands, 
	tests our loving and our living 
	here in this and every land.

*for use when there is no communion

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003 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: 8 7 8 7 D
Tunes: BETHANY (Smart); ABBOTS LEIGH