Young Mary

1     	Young Mary, survivor, alone in the world,
	for that’s how it seemed to the mind of this girl.
	An angel had promised the birth of a son,
	but Mary just wanted to hide or to run.

2     	Much less of a blessing, less joy to the earth,
	the sound to her ears of the promise of birth;
	unmarried, herself little more than a child,
	the thoughts in her mind were horrendous, ran wild.

3     	Would Joseph abandon her now in her need?
	Would he share the faith of our latter-day creed?
	More likely to leave her alone to her end,
	now wounded by bias, no longer her friend.

4     	That God could conceive to abandon, mistreat:
	a sordid beginning, a birth on the street;
	that Mary should taste wrath at such a young age;
	the cross threw its shadow across the world’s stage.

5     	Before she could magnify God in her song,
	she had to confront all the world in its wrong,
	the things in her mind she could not reconcile,
	the world’s misconceptions and Herod’s cruel guile.

6     	We sing of a manger, we tell of a birth,
	our sentiment colours its moment and worth:
	as deity seems to collude with the state
	sing glory, sing Mary… before it’s too late.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
© 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd.
11 11 11 11

A tension stalked the stage – another Advent/Christmas hymn

The gospel reading of the Fourth Sunday in Advent tells of the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and Mary’s prophetic song which we know as the Magnificat (Luke 1: 39-55). This Sunday’s hymn reaches further than this. It has for its background an occupied country, a census involving a journey and the song of a young woman which anticipates the birth of a child who will bring radical challenge and change to the world – if only we would hear and follow him…

A tension stalked the stage, 
an occupying force, 
and in this context Mary sang. 
The world could alter course.
Once humbled by her God, 
demeaned, yet she felt blessed, 
her life now mingled joy and pain, 
from now she'd never rest.

And those in every age 
are challenged by her song, 
the paupers free to pray again - 
for those who did them wrong;
while princes are appalled,
for those who once held power 
will find their status racked right down, 
and that within this hour.

For where injustice meets 
with worship lived and prayed, 
the social order swings around, 
the powerful are dismayed;
and that includes us all, 
our power is sapped away, 
while genuine humility 
at last will have its day.

Andrew E Pratt 
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: DSM
Tune: LEOMINSTER

Easter Day

Easter

Rainbow Cross

Suffocating night 
smothering, 
obliterating
the broken bloody body 
hammered hard, 
staining scarlet 
that cross 
of rough-cut wood

and thunder crashed 
the doom of death.

Then darkness fractured, 
light splintered, 
fragments of colour 
shot out into the brilliance 
of a multi-coloured Easter morning 
in a green garden.

And an empty cross 
rainbow-wrapped, 
images the promise 
of the death-defying dawn 
of new hope.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Quite early one morning © Andrew Pratt

A strange new day 

This is the day 
when perfume remained unopened, 
spices were no longer needed, 
cloths and sponges were unused.

This is the day 
when stone was no barrier, 
soldiers abandoned guard duty, 
grave clothes and tomb were empty. 

This is the day 
when the unexpected became reality, 
a man asked awkward questions, 
uttered unlikely proclamations.

This is the day 
when bewilderment ruled, 
fear was ever-present, 
obedience the only option.

This is the day
when women left hurriedly,
uncertain and warily,
to tell a strange story 
to an unbelieving audience, 

For they did not know it,
but this is the day 
when everything changed:
death was defeated, 
new life was beginning, 
hope overwhelming despair.

This is the day 
of resurrection.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Come in the morning

Come in the morning.
Come see the dawning.
Come to the garden –
life has broken through.

Jesus, dead and buried. 
To his grave they hurried. 
Anxious women found that 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Soldiers could not keep him 
for they were found sleepiing 
and the tomb was open – 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Peter, unbelieving, 
left, still full of grieving. 
Nothing would convince him 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Mary, greatly shaken, 
thought he had been taken.
Heard his voice that told her 
life had broken through.
Chorus

Where there was despairing, 
grief and horror sharing, 
now there is a rumour 
life has broken through.
Chorus

So God’s word is spoken, 
when our hearts are broken 
there will come a time when 
new life will break through.
Chorus

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: 6 6 6 5 and chorus 5 5 5 5 
Tune: Dance to thi’ Daddy (When the boat comes in)

Mary Magdalene

My name is Mary,
common enough in my time 
to need to be identified by place, or family.
Mine is such a name.
They call me the Magdalene.

People call me other names.
Some claim I was a prostitute, 
perhaps because the town whose name I bear 
is famous for that trade.

Others question my sanity 
and ask why it was necessary for that exorcism 
of troubling devils to be performed.
They probably call me mad.

The other followers, male, of course, 
know me as ‘one of the women’, 
useful for everyday tasks, but mainly disregarded.

So on that day -
when all hope had drained after his execution, 
the future seemed bleak and empty
and even the tomb appeared to have been raided 
and his body stolen – 
it was hardly surprising that the men ignored me,
ran back to the city and left me to weep alone.

The voice was kind and questioning 
and I sobbed my story, not expecting help.
But it came, in one word.
 ‘Mary,’ 
from one who spoke my name as if it mattered.

My name is Mary.
His name was and is and always will be, 
Jesus.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.

Safe, locked inside that upper room 

Safe, locked inside that upper room, 
too scared to let the truth be known, 
disciples had to see their Lord 
before that truth could be their own.

And Thomas, still so full of doubt, 
would not believe the tales they told 
till Christ appeared, to show his wounds -
then his conviction made him bold.

Yet doubts and fears returned again.
Once more they locked themselves away 
until the Holy Spirit came 
on that inspiring, vital day.

The truth is now a living fact.
The love of God can never die.
So bold apostles stood their ground – 
their living Lord is not a lie.

We have not seen, but we believe 
and we must witness by our faith 
to living truth we have received, 
awakened by the Spirit’s breath.

Marjorie Dobson © 2019 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.
From Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2019.
Metre: LM  
Tune: NIAGARA 

Poem: When what we thought was mystery

When what we thought was mystery
is rooted in the common place,
and God is found in those who love,
and those we love by grace;
then we have grasped the Christmas story,
reached its heart, beheld its glory.
	
When scourge and cross are recognised
in images from round the earth.
When we admit complicity
and gauge compassions' dearth;
then we have grasped the Easter story,
reached its heart, and felt its glory.
	
When love and justice magnify
and even mercy has no end;
when hostages find liberty
and enemies are friends;
then we have grasped the Spirit's story,
reached its heart, expressed its glory.

Andrew Pratt © 2004 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.

Deep in darkness – Advent Candle Lighting Hymn

1 Deep in darkness we begin,
dark outside and deep within.
Now ignite a single flame,
shadows form, let light remain.

2 As they gleaned the word of life,
narrative of love and strife,
people through each age have known
yet more light: God’s glory shown.

3 John the Baptist spoke out loud,
challenged that discordant crowd,
called each one toward the light,
see it growing, gleaming bright.

4 Mary wondered at her lot,
blessed?  Or cursed?  Or loved?  Or not?
Angels came and glory shone,
feel the love, let light shine on.

5 Look!  a star is shining there.
See the stable stark and bare.
Christmas dawns, all darkness gone!
Christ has come, the light shines on!
7 7 7 7  Suggested Tune: LAUDS (Wilson)
Andrew E Pratt, taken from Reclaiming Praise      

Words © 2003 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.