Always missing, never grasping – hymn for the Third Sunday of Easter

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 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
Tune: LEWIS FOLK MELODY


Watercolour from Words, Images and Imagination © Andrew Pratt

Much brighter than a thousand suns – a Transfiguration hymn

I have always thought that the gospel accounts that point to the identity of Jesus as Christ, God’s anointed person, God with us, lay down three markers. As Jesus comes with the crowds of people to the River Jordan, to identify with them in Baptism by John, he is saying by his action that he is son of a man, human like us. In unison with this the writers gospel record God’s words, this is my Son, my beloved. Finally, Resurrection and Ascension confirm all that has gone before. Midway in the whole narrative of Jesus life, between these other events, is placed an account of the Transfiguration. Jesus has gone up a mountain with some of his disciples. Matthew 17: 2 says, ‘he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white’. This hymn starts at this point:

1	Much brighter than a thousand suns, 
	the source of life, eternal grace; 
	light of the cosmos and this world 
	now shining from a saviour's face.
	Upon the mountain's towering height
	they saw transfiguration's light.
	
2	This man, this Jesus, they had known, 
	who called them once by Galilee, 
	now stood upon the mountaintop, 
	he seemed exalted, shining, free. 
	Disciples caught in stark surprise 
	had shielded dazzled, blinded eyes.
	
3	Free of the bonds of human life 
	and distanced by some greater power, 
	a strange yet mystic harmony 
	joined earth and heaven in this hour.
	It seemed that God was very near,
	inspiring awe, dispelling fear.
	
4	The height of love, the depth of grace,
	the dazzling birth of something new,
	a supernova magnified, 
	a stunning, startling, shining view, 
	for God affirmed Christ's human worth
	illuminating all the earth. 

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2012 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 8 8 8 8 8
Tunes: ABINGDON; SAGINA

An old hymn, that many may know: ‘Stay, Master, stay upon this heavenly hill’, concludes the event, for the story goes on and after this height of exaltation as we return to what was normal. A message for us all perhaps…

	No, saith the Lord, the hour is past, we go;
	Our home, our life, our duties lie below.
	While here we kneel upon the mount of prayer,
	The plough lies waiting in the furrow there.
	Here we sought God that we might know his will;
	There we must do it, serve him, seek him still.
                                        (Samuel Greg, 1804-1876)

Beatitude hymn – In places where there is no church

The Beatitudes are enigmatic – blessings for those who seem least blessed (Luke 6: 17 – 26). I’ve often thought that part of our calling as Christians is to embody and enable those blessings by our love in action. Jesus shows us how. This hymn was inspired by this theme


1 In places where there is no church,
where hope is hard to find,
we touch the hands made rough by life
to seek a common mind.
We go where others would not go,
perhaps would fear to tread,
to go beyond our walls and ways
wherever we are led.


2 Where commerce rules we ply our trade,
our currency is grace,
and all we have to offer is
God's love to fill this place.
In prisons where we sit with those
whom justice has condemned,
we seek to mirror Jesus' love
that fear might have an end.


3 And while a person lives in pain
a quiet voice can say,
this time will pass, love holds you still,
we'll see another day.
In searing heat or arctic cold
where lives are ripped and torn,
or where a family waits in fear
we share another dawn.


4 And is it arrogant to say
we look with Jesus' eyes?
We seek to see his face in all,
to hear him in their sighs.
And so our calling is to serve,
to go where Christ has led,
go out, go all, go to the world,
God's people must be fed.


Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2015 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: CMD
Tune: WORKING FOR CHRIST (by Camilla Cederholm who I met in Finland – see More than hymns, No.70)

Hymn for Jesus Manifesto – Luke 4: 14 – 21

In Nazareth it happened,
folk heard with bated breath,
the good news Jesus offered 
of life instead of death.

This was the manifesto:
a charter for the poor,      
a welcome for the stranger 
who’d waited at the door.

Within a cell the captive 
would hear the freedom call,
and those who felt injustice
know healing was for all.

Oppression would be banished.
Yet hypocrites recoiled,
drove Jesus from their presence, 
but he would not be foiled.

And in this time and context 
will we still have to wait,
or dare we risk and follow, 
before it is too late?
Andrew Pratt 17/1/2022
Words © 2022 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: 7.6.7.6
Tune: THE CHERRY TREE CAROL (repeat last two lines of each verse)
Based on Luke 4: 14 – 30 (the Lectionary for this coming Sunday is Luke 4: 14 – 21)
An alternative version below follows a slightly different rhythm.

Alternative words:

In Nazareth it happened,
the folk held their breath;
the good news Jesus offered 
was life instead of death.

And this was the promise:
a gift for the poor,      
a welcome for the stranger 
who’d waited at the door.

Within a cell the captive 
would hear freedom call,
and those who felt injustice
know healing was for all.

Oppression would be banished,
hypocrites recoiled,
drove Jesus from their presence, 
but he would not be foiled.

And in this time and context 
we still have to wait;
or dare we risk and follow, 
before it is too late?
Andrew Pratt 17/1/2022
Words © 2022 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,