Letter to United Methodist Church – from the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church UK
Days now to an anniversary…and we witness strife (an understatement) in Afghanistan and this hymn, perhaps still speaks to us. That saddens me (understatement again). I thought it would lose any validity or use within days of being written…I hoped
When will we ever learn…
Twenty years ago this year the USA, and with it the world, was shaken with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. This exacerbated the polarisation of faith traditions and ideologies across the globe. Tensions increased and an ‘us and them’ mentality, already present, was exaggerated by political posturing, understandable, to a degree, in the light of what had happened. Broken bridges have still not been rebuilt but today those labelled enemies in Western nations are as much within as outside out borders and reconciliation is still needed. Ideologies are in tension with each other and this is overlaid by the threat of a pandemic. Global cooperation has never been more necessary. A hymn I wrote in 2001 within 24 hours of 9/11 is perhaps still pertinent…those we label or sense to be enemies inhabit the fabric of our own politics. Their actions are not as obvious but just as damaging…trust is at a premium…
1 God's on our side, and God will grieve at carnage, loss and death; for Jesus wept, and we will weep with every grieving breath. 2 God's on their side, the enemy, the ones we would despise; God quench our vengeance, still our pride, don't let our anger rise. 3 God's on each side, God loves us all, and through our hurt and pain G od shares the anguish, nail scarred hands reach out?love must remain. 4 God show us how to reconcile each difference and fear, that we might learn to love again and dry the other's tear. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2001 Stainer and Bell Ltd., please include any use on your CCL Licence return or contact Stainer & Bell via www.stainer.co.uk. Administered in the USA by Hope Publishing. Tunes: AMAZING GRACE; BASIE (Kleinheksel)
Some of the poetry in Words, Images and Imagination are perhaps pertinent to this situation…
The will for domination leaves carnage in its wake,
as neighbours are berated, while peace and justice quake.
A dream once spoke of freedom, embodied hope and grace,
now all of that is challenged, with hatred in its place.
Hostility is breeding as loving is outlawed.
Hypocrisy and violence once left a saviour floored.
So what is there to save us when leaders lose all sense?
When governments are faulted, we daren’t sit on the fence?
Our common human nature, the seed of human love,
must hold us at the centre beyond the push and shove,
must live beyond this moment, must meet each human need,
when other things divide us, while neighbours die or bleed.
God bind our lives together, fulfil our living dream,
that hearts might cleave together beyond each human scheme,
that love might reign triumphant in every human heart.
Now is the time for building, the time for us to start.
Andrew Pratt 2/6/2020
Words © 2020 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.
Metre: 220.127.116.11. D set as 18.104.22.168
Tune: AURELIA; CRUGER; PASSION CHORALE;
NEW TUNE SETTING BY JOHN KLEINHEKSEL
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Brought to my attention by a friend in America. As we might expect but discomfiting nevertheless…