Presidency joins call for more support for people on the lowest incomes

Quoted from a letter to the Prime Minister signed by Faith leaders including the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

It is the urgent, moral responsibility of the Prime Minister to ensure that people on the lowest incomes have enough to live in the months ahead. Spiralling costs are affecting everyone, but for those who were already fighting to keep their heads above water, this winter’s challenges will be a matter of life and death.”

See the full letter here

Loving our Neighbours at a time of Harvest – Amos 6 – Luke 16 – Hymn

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 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 Tune: BETHANY (Smart)

A time for decisions – a hymn – What are the gifts we would treasure most highly

John Wesley once referred to the Methodists as ‘a peculiar people’. One of our peculiarities is treating September as the beginning of a New Year. 

At another level we live in a world in conflict and, in the UK with a government with a new Prime Minister.
All of us together are faced with decisions.
 
At a time of decision for the people of Israel Moses challenged them – ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live’. (Deuternomy30: 19)

The following hymn asks what choosing life might mean for us today.

1	What are the gifts we would treasure most highly:
	freedom or justice or money or wealth;
	food for the hungry, or drink for the thirsty,
	love for our children, or power, or health?
	 
2	Once God had given a choice to the people:
	they could decide to choose life or choose death.
	They were encouraged towards life's enhancement,
	shunning the ways that would quench life and breath.
	 
3	What does it mean for ourselves at this moment,
        challenged by God, as to what we should choose?
	What does ‘life’ mean, for each friend, for each neighbour, 
        what will encourage and never abuse?
	 
4	Now at each crisis, each time of decision,
	save us from selfishness, things that oppress;
	help us, O God, to be wise, never grasping,
	help us to cherish those things you would bless.

Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2011 alt by the author 2022 © 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.
alt 2022 by the author. 
Metre: 11 10 11 10
Tune: EPIPHANY HYMN

Idyllic beaches break the waves – a hymn relating to migration and asylum – sadly still pertinent..

These images will not be diminished by persecuting migrants, nor by making a false distinction between those seeking asylum and so called economic migrants. We need to welcome as fellow human beings people coming to our shores who are fleeing fear or poverty and to provide them with safe passage to our shores and a humanitarian reception.

1	Idyllic beaches break the waves 
	as bathers line the shore
	This view of peace is now disturbed:
	an aftermath of war.
	The ones who fled from lives they knew 
	have gone in fear and dread, 
	the ships that offered hope to them 
	are sunk with many dead.
 
2	And where is God amid the swell 
	where tides still ebb and flow,
	unfeeling of this loss of life,
	as others come and go?
	The commerce of the world goes on. 
	Can we ignore the pain?
	It is as though we're blind to see 
	Christ crucified again.
 
3	The ones who drown are ones we own 
	as neighbours we should love;
	how can we turn our eyes away, 
	avert our gaze above?
	For when our politics conspires 
	to shut the door to grace 
	it is as though we turn away 
	from Jesus' tortured face.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2015 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.

CMD
Tune: KINGSFOLD

 

On the sidewalk – a song of poverty and loneliness

I am posting this midway through Christian Aid Week. We tend to focus on needs which are abroad. Often there are people on our doorstep, in villages, towns and cities where we live who have needs which are profound. Perhaps this is where we will meet Christ. This song was written form the perspective of such a person. Hal Hopson set it with a tune for America. Some years later a (now retired) Methodist Presbyter set it and recorded it and it was published in his book, Reach.

1	On the sidewalk, by the shop-front 
        [On the pavement, by the shop-front - alt line]
	I laid down my mat to sleep;
	tears of sadness welled within me,
	thoughts of all that might have been.

2	Lost within this hidden city
	where the subway hums and groans,
	left unnoticed and defenceless,
	God forsaken and alone.

3	Can you sense my thrumming heart-beat,
	can you feel a reason why
	in your wealth you're just as lonely,
	waiting for your time to die?

4	Maybe I should look more clearly
	through the eyes of given hope,
	maybe you could stoop more lowly
	that together we may cope.

Andrew E Pratt; Words © 2002 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 Trochaic
Tunes: RECONCILIATION (Hopson) published in Whatever Name or Creed, 2002.
SIDEWALK (Sharrocks) © 2010 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk  
published in Reach with accompanying CD.
A recording from the CD can be found here.