How precious is the knowledge, the spirit in a life. Unique, each precious person, none walks the self-same life. We must treasure up each witness if we’re to live beyond such strife.
Andrew Pratt in honour of Holocaust survivors. 27/1/2022
A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, and going forward. Today we still need to remember our human capacity for inhumanity, that the Holocaust took place in a democratic country with a democratically elected government, and still within living memory. Remember, many of the perpetrators saw themselves as ‘Christian’.
1 As we remember holocaust,
in horror disbelieving
the history of the human race,
we share each other's grieving;
God purge us of hypocrisy,
of all our self-deceiving.
2 Our language is inadequate,
unfit for the expression
of hatred that we visualise,
we hurry headlong into hell,
we witness love's regression.
3 The deepest, distant agony
that throbs through all creation,
the silent tears that quietly fall
in every generation,
are signs of our humanity,
our need for re-creation.
4 God give us strength to make a pledge
to move beyond contention,
to see, in each, humanity.
Through greater good intention,
God, move us toward a purer love,
a gracious intervention.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003 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.
God marks no ending, only new beginnings,
until the consummation of our lives;
God keeps no count of losses, nor of winnings:
we move through grace, the holy spirit thrives.
So as we go beyond this time, this setting,
rememb’ring all the laughter and the tears;
we go with God in faith, so not regretting
the moments shared, the hopes, the dreams, the fears.
Though parted for a while, we travel onward,
not knowing what the future has in store.
This phase will close, the spirit draws us forward,
we’ve tasted love, but God has promised more!
Words © 2006 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.
11 10 11 10 Suggested Tune: LORD OF THE YEARS
My Father died 47 years ago. He had served in the 8th Army seeing action at El Alamein. This is not meant to be his story but reflecting, while there was sense in celebration when bombs stopped dropping on England, perhaps we might celebrate in 2020 with care. I guess my father, and others like him had not been demobbed. He didn’t talk much about his war. He had firm friends. Some had died. When he came home he had a nervous breakdown – post-traumatic stress? Some years later he was chronically and then terminally ill dying at the age of sixty. My mother died at the same age one year later. How much of this was an aftermath of war I’ll never know. I do know that in the fifties it was common to see men who had lost limbs not being lauded as paralympic athletes. Some things have changed…thank God…
They sent him home, a broken man,
each nerve and sinew torn or strained
and what was celebrated then
he recognised as little gained.
The trauma of that noise and strife,
the shattered buildings, tear torn lives,
with stunned, dismembered memories,
and, though he struggled, each survives.
The shell-shocked post-traumatic stress,
his past so vivid, sharpened, bright,
has left him stumbling through a void,
toward a mist enshrouded night.
And now as we look back this day,
into a past that some have known,
may we revere the ones we see,
and recognise the grief they own.
And deeper truths must still be learned:
that no dispute is worth a life,
that peace and justice, kindness, love,
must bring an end to earthly strife.
© Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020
AUDIO – © Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020
Hear this hymn being sung at This fragile, passing beauty
On the 1st September 1939, 80 years ago, the Second World War began. Germany invaded Poland; with the United Kingdom and France declaring war on Germany two days later…
This fragile, passing beauty,
this autumn, red and gold,
a season’s recollection:
love never will grow cold.
The seasons change and fracture,
the leaves of green turn brown,
as life seems tinged with sadness,
as petals flutter down.
This time of our remembrance
that reaches back to pain,
the chill of recollection
can open wounds again;
But this we must remember
that human war and hate
are matters of our choosing
and not some random fate.
God let this time of grieving,
of mem’ry and regret,
in case we just forget.
Fill human hearts with courage,
frame human words with grace,
that love might flow among us,
make Earth a sacred place.
Andrew Pratt 16/9/2019
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.
Tunes: BRED DINA VIDA VINGAR (Reclaiming Praise, No.142 – https://stainer.co.uk/shop/b891/), another setting of this tune can be heard at https://youtu.be/V6dDt3OJf6Q ;
Another tune: AURELIA.