Hymns as an evolving genre

There are times in all our lives when we question what is happening and when our faith is challenged and shaken. What happens when we reach the point where it feels as though our faith makes no sense.  For many in contemporary society this seems to be the case. Perhaps circumstance leads them to this point. For others there is the sheer illogicality of believing in something intangible, metaphysical. What then? We cannot force belief on someone, it simply doesn’t work. Fred Pratt Green frames the theme like this:

When our confidence is shaken
in beliefs we thought secure;
when the spirit in its sickness
seeks but cannot find a cure:
God is active in the tensions
of a faith not yet mature.
Fred Pratt Green Copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd

In this circumstance faith is incomplete. We do not have the full picture. Arguably, where God is concerned we never can have the full picture, in which case we need to be open to the fact that faith, in Sydney Carter’s words is framed by a creed which is never fixed or final. I raise a question in the following text:

How can we live at one with God,
inspired by Christ the living Word,
infused with all the Spirit's power
when life is twisted and absurd?

[…] to grasp by faith, to act in love,
while nothing fixed or final stands.

Put another way:

When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.

In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.

All the above Andrew Pratt unless otherwise stated, verses copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Hymn responding to Dr Cecilia Medupin’s Seminar for Bramhall Methodist Church Climate Change Series

Dr Cecilia Medupin
Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 
University of Manchester

Dry, cracked and crazed the water-bed lies empty, 
the earth is thirsty, rain is slow to come, 
this news is hidden, floods have filled the headlines, 
the prophets now, not heard, might well be dumb.

This is the earth the ground of life, our being, 
our home to share, to nurture and protect, 
a gift of God for us and all God’s creatures, 
to use our knowledge, work to good effect.

As people wait, the wells of life are barren, 
how long, O God, before your people learn 
that we must live and love and work together, 
to answer needs that science can discern.

The brightest light of wisdom dims in sadness, 
if we ignore the needs of all the earth,
if selfishly we dominate creation, 
deny the love once given at our birth.

Great God, earth mother, father of creation, 
we plead and cry that you will hear each voice, 
then motivate your people, bring fresh waters, 
till earth can sing and once again rejoice!

Andrew Pratt 18/6/2021 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 
Tune: INTERCESSOR  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX0q8eBGE7A)

More information click here

A patchwork of knowledge of science and praise https://bramhallmethodists.org.uk/scienceandprayer/

A patchwork of knowledge of science and praise,
exploring creation while numbering our days,
yet each can confound us, with challenge or choice,
unsettle or change us, give cause to rejoice.

Each discipline offers perspective and view,
some narrow, abandoned or followed by few,
our relative thinking, experience and ways,
maintaining a template for prayer and for praise.

Andrew Pratt 28/9/2019
Words © 2019 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.