At the census in the city – We welcome Christmas Day

1	At the census in the city, 
	at the crossing place of life, 
	where the homeless and abandoned 
	share the scars of human strife; 
	mid the rubble and the ruins 
	shedding God's prophetic light
	see, a star is softly shining 
	through the horror of the night.

2	In the cross of shifting shadows 
	see a mother and her child, 
	see the wetness of his features, 
	freshly born, so not yet filed. 
	In a world of cold statistics 
	yet another mouth to feed, 
	for the parents' love holds tension 
	with a calling, crying need.

3	So from Bethlehem in history 
	to this present place and time, 
	God has entered human anguish, 
	sung in tune to human rhyme; 
	yes, the baby that we welcome, 
	yes, the Christ of Palestine, 
	are as one, we seal remembrance 
	in a feast of bread and wine. 	
        [signature of love's design.]* 

4	For the ruin of the manger, 
	this prefig'ring of the cross, 
	offers Christ as our relation 
	in our chaos and our loss, 
	puts the Christ into the present, 
	places God in human hands, 
	tests our loving and our living 
	here in this and every land.

*for use when there is no communion

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003 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: 8 7 8 7 D
Tunes: BETHANY (Smart); ABBOTS LEIGH

Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 2

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

Not just a shadow in the past,
a smudge on history’s page,
but women shared their faith themselves
and took the centre stage.

Not just content to live their lives
through children they had borne,
but standing, speaking, preaching love,
in face of fear or scorn.

Their sons might take the central place,
convention seemed to rule,
but wisdom played a different hand:
showed prejudice a fool.

So now we stand where they once stood,
defiant in God’s grace,
no crude constraint will turn us back
in any time or place!

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: CM
Tunes: SHANTI (by Marty Haugen); ABRIDGE.
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.

Susanna Wesley Anniversary Hymn 1

One of two hymns written for the Anniversary of the Birth of Susanna Wesley 350 years ago – 20th January 1669.
She was the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

The wisdom of women, so often determines
the paths that we take from the moment of birth;
both nature and nurture define through our growing:
a life hardly noticed or fame upon earth.

As parents we live out our lives through our children,
restraining, controlling or letting them grow;
demanding obedience, enabling their freedom,
or opening doors, simply letting them go.

The care and compassion received in the cradle
can influence choices and actions we take,
the growth of our faith, or our arrogant conflict,
the walls that we build, or the bridges we make.

From humble beginnings faith leaders are nurtured,
in just such a crib can a tyrant be found,
a mother or father can model commitment,
God’s graciousness planted in gently tilled ground.

And so we remember the strength of our parents,
their place in informing what we have become,
and those who through history have parented leaders
extending their influence through daughter or son.

Andrew Pratt 14/1/2019
Metre: 12.11.12.11
Tunes: ST CATHERIINES COURT; STREETS OF LAREDO
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.