"How little can the rich man know
Of what the poor man feels,
When Want, like some dark dæmon foe,
Nearer and nearer steals!
He never tramp'd the weary round,
A stroke of work to gain,
And sicken'd at the dreaded sound
Telling him 'twas in vain.
Foot-sore, heart-sore, he never came
Back through the winter's wind,
To a dark cellar, there no flame,
No light, no food, to find.
He never saw his darlings lie
Shivering, the flags their bed;
He never heard that maddening cry,
'Daddy, a bit of bread!'"
William Gaskell (in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, 1848)
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 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
Tune: WORKING FOR CHRIST (by Camilla Cederholm who I met in Finland – see More than hymns, No.70)