Mark 11: 1-11 First the cheering, then the jeering First the cheering, then the jeering – crowds can change their minds at will. First they hail him, then condemn him; aim to please, or aim to kill. First the anger, then the whipping, clearing out the Temple court. First the traders, then the money – space for prayer cannot be bought. First the perfume, then the poison – money should not go to waste. First anointing, then annoyance – do not judge her deed in haste. First the trusting, then betrayal – Judas seeking cash in hand. First he loved him, then provoked him, daring him to take a stand. First the kneeling, then the serving, showing deep humility. First bread breaking, then wine sharing – ‘Do this as you think of me.’ First the garden, then the praying – sweating blood, then traitor’s kiss. First the trial, then denial – Peter, has it come to this? First the nails and then the hammer piercing flesh and splitting bone. First the sighing, then the dying – Jesus on the cross, alone. First the grieving, then the praying, agonising through your death. First we share your desolation - while you wait to take new breath. Marjorie Dobson © 2005 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 © Stainer & Bell Ltd From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019 Tune: STUTTGART – Singing the Faith 225 Poem: Palm Sunday Don’t know much about horses. Don’t know much about donkeys for that matter. Do know that colts can be nervous and jumpy. Know they need to be trained for a rider. Know they have to get used to noises. Know they shy away from sudden movements. Know they need careful handling by experienced riders. So what was Jesus doing taking a young colt, never been ridden before, not familiar with strangers, let alone one who usually walked everywhere, into a crowd of people waving and shouting, throwing strange objects right into the path of the animal, and riding it on a public highway, through a darkened arched gate into crowded city streets, lined with excited and sometimes hostile figures? Was he out to get himself killed? He was certainly going the right way about it. Marjorie Dobson - © 2019 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 © Stainer & Bell Ltd From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019. A strange kind of king When that king comes riding on a donkey, will he be noticed among the finery and glitz and glamour of a ceremonial state occasion? When, through God’s peacemakers, arms and armoury are decommissioned and weapons of mass destruction are immobilised, will anyone believe that peace can be permanent, or that God can have anything to do with it? When those imprisoned by warfare, neglect and poverty are freed into peace, hope and equality, will anyone credit God with being the inspiration behind many of the activists who helped to achieve those aims? Or will the donkey wander through rejoicing crowds and the man on its back be taken for a fool again? © Marjorie Dobson; May be used freely locally with acknowledgment, for wider use please contact the author. To bring a city to its sense To bring a city to its sense, a nation to its knees, they welcomed Nazareth's carpenter, waved palms cut from the trees. Hosanna filled the quiet air, they strained to glimpse a view; 'Messiah' they acclaimed this man whom Pharisees would sue. He turned the tables upside down, he spun their world around, he challenged preconceived ideas, flung hatred to the ground. This man had learnt too much, it seemed, knew ways of right and wrong, his ear attuned to righteousness sensed discord in their song. The politicians and the priests were threatened by this choice; the hypocrites would silence him, and still we shun his voice. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2002 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 © Stainer & Bell Ltd. From Whatever Name or Creed, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2002. Metre: CM Tune: FINGAL (Anderson); FORGIVE OUR SINS
Think again If the extent of our sacrificial content is to give up chocolate for Lent, what kind of a sacrifice is that? If the inclination of our celebration is for a self-centred commemoration for the current congregation, what good is that to God, or anyone else? If a Holy Day becomes a holiday with the holiness left out, where has the significance gone? God sighs for the real sacrifice of working to eliminate poverty and injustice. God craves for the genuine celebrations of people set free and of changed lives. God holds out hope for those who make holiness their aim, however far they still have to travel. God asks us to think again. © Marjorie Dobson Empty words Empty words from those who live in luxury and despise the poor. Empty words from those who enquire after the sick, but never visit them. Empty words from those who offer hollow sympathy, but never weep with those in sorrow. Empty words from those who are severely critical of local and national governments, but refuse to vote, or to become involved in politics. Empty words from those who proclaim themselves to be Christians, but only take care of themselves and their own kind. Empty words from those who preach of suffering and sacrifice, but have never challenged themselves to experience either. Empty words from those … … Empty words … … Empty … … And God, who knows our hearts, looks on and asks us to look again at the sacrificial love of Jesus and to fill our empty words with love and action. Marjorie Dobson Words © 2019 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.
Spirited dancer Spirited dancer, a pantomime figure, comic, distorted, misused and abused; never expedient, yet working with rigour, seemingly foolish yet never confused. Crying the wilderness down on your shoulders, offering pedants the cool time of day; I would dance with you, by paths or rough boulders, willing to enter the fun or the fray. Now in my cowardice, fear, apprehension, sharing the life that you've given to me; help me to put away pride and pretension, learn in your footsteps the way to be free. Andrew E. Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2003, 2006 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: 11 10 11 10 Tune: WAS LEBET, WAS SCHWEBET; QUEDLINBURG
The first of a selection of items by myself and Marjorie Dobson for Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week and Easter to appear regularly over the coming weeks.
Ashes come from crosses Ashes come from crosses, symbolically palm-leafed for joyful jubilation, yet shaped for betrayal and condemnation. Crosses carried last Lent as emblems of enlightenment and hand-held holiness, now tired and tainted by a year of faults and failing to follow the sacrificial example set by the crucified Christ. So ashes of symbols become badges of repentance to be warily worn, not as a display of duty to be proudly presented as an outward sign of hollow holiness, but as a reminder of those times when our hopes turn to ashes, as our welcoming of Christ’s kingdom is overwhelmed by the opinions of the crowd and easily influenced into denial and defeat. © Marjorie Dobson
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Freedom is like elastic https://livinglent.org/the-world-sees-freedom-like-elastic/