Advent – a time of waiting – more than a calendar with sweets, more than an extra candle lit each Sunday, perhaps a time to move from darkness into light, from penitence to praise? A hymn inspired by Isaiah 2:2 2:2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 1 This is the time of waiting, the calm before the storm, the time of Advent judgement, the coming of the dawn; a time of recollection, of Christ's audacious hope, beyond imagination, outside our human scope. 2 The nations will be gathered, the age will be fulfilled, the judgement be enacted, as Christ had hoped and willed. But for this consummation such birth-pangs will be felt, like rupturing of wine-skins, the earth will heave and melt. 3 For love to be exalted, for hatred to be banned, our human goals must shatter, division must be spanned. A change of mind is needed as we are turned around, to move from desecration, to find love's solid ground. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2018 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 Metre: 7 6 7 6 D Tune: AURELIA
The 1st of November is All Saints Day; the 3rd All Souls Day. As we enter this period, culminating for many on the 11th November with Remembrance Day, and the 13th Remembrance Sunday, this hymn might be helpful for we who mourn, who remember those who have died.
Some churches will recognise All Souls this coming Sunday. This hymn was originally requested for remembrance of people who had died of kidney disease and later included in a book: Hymns of Hope and Healing.
The lives we mourn have known their share of heartache,
of human fear, uncertainty and shock,
and yet we also shared in love and laughter,
our memories hold solid as a rock;
for on through time remembrance will be treasured,
we'll keep it close when joy is tinged with pain,
we'll never lose the smiles that sign togetherness,
and day to day we know that love will still remain.
We never know what waits in life's uncertainty,
we never know what love, what joy, what fear,
can build us up, or leave us lost and comfortless,
afraid to face, again, the coming year,
yet here are people who can hold their hands with us,
can walk with us into the great unknown,
and so together we can walk the path of life,
and know that when we stumble love will still be shown.
So take my hand, my friend, my neighbour, walk with me,
together we can face the passing storm,
and know with God, in spite of tears and emptiness,
there is a sense that new love can be born.
In this we trust, for through our grief God held to us,
and human arms have caught us when we fell,
beyond this day each dawn will bring new hope for us
that through God's love and grace and care all will be well.
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: 12 10 12 1012 10 12 12
Tune LONDONNERY AIR
Creator God: in lightning, clouds and thunder, I hear your voice, I sense the mountains shake. But love is greater, causes me to wonder, and in this moment faith begins to wake. So I will sing in praise of all I see, and in God's grace, I place my trust; and through our lives may love confound our fear. Sing praise to God, for God is love. I look to stars, foundations of creation, reflections gleam from streams as I pass by, from mountain pass to shingle by the ocean, the breath of God is moving with each sigh. Within this world a human once embodied a depth of love beyond what had been known, a love that gave forgiveness once in dying, that we could find in life, that all could own. And when my breath is ceasing as I’m dying may grace confirm the hope that faith has given, this human love that I have known in living grows firmer, deeper in the love of heaven. © Andrew Pratt 29/9/2022
Loving our Neighbours at a time of Harvest
We are fortunate in this Country to either live in the countryside or to be relatively near to it – farming country. And now is the season of Harvest Festivals. This coming Sunday some of the Lectionary readings contain the following words:
From Amos – 6:4 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall;
6:5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music;
6:6 who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
And from Luke – 16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
16:20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores…
We are bid, in the midst of our harvest celebrations, to love our neighbours. The hymn reflects…
1 If we claim to love our neighbours
while the hungry queue for food,
are we prey to self-deception?
Is perception quite so crude?
If we sit beside our neighbours,
begging for the things they need,
we might share their own injustice
in a world that thrives on greed.
2 If we punish those with nothing,
blaming them for where they stand,
is this love of friend or neighbour,
do we still not understand?
Love of neighbour is not easy,
cuts us till we feel the pain,
sharing hurt that they are feeling
till they find new life again.
3 Love of neighbour sets us squarely
in the place where they now sit,
till the richness God has given
builds a pearl around the grit;
till each person shares the comfort
of the love of which we preach,
till we live as fact the Gospel:
none can be beyond love’s reach.
Andrew E Pratt – From More Than Hymns published Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2015.
Words © 2015 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.
Metre: 8 7 8 7 D Tune: BETHANY (Smart)
The Commonwealth was built more on the spread of the British Empire than sharing all things in common – wealth was not common but often taken by the rich from the poor. The Games, however, ideally, offer the opportunity for us to come together, hopefully, in a more equal way even if we still need to heal the hurt of colonialism.
1 A commonwealth of love
where all are held by grace,
it seems idyllic on the page,
could it infect this place?
Within that upper room
were people just like us,
but meeting Christ in faith and love
transformed their depth of trust.
2 And when we meet with God
we cannot but be changed,
for God confronts our doubt and fear
as lives are rearranged.
This day the change begins,
the vision is fulfilled,
and life will never be the same
where love can be distilled.
3 So let us grasp this hope
that set the world alight,
that love can never be destroyed
and fear is put to flight.
A commonwealth of love:
let’s risk a seed of grace
to bring this vision into life
within each time and place.
Andrew E Pratt
Words © 2012 © 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: DSM Tune: FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH