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)

On the sidewalk [pavement] – for Homelessness (Sunday)

1          On the sidewalk, by the shop-front
            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 (born 1948)

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., from Whatever name or creed & Reach by Peter Sharrocks
Tune: RECONCILLIATION (HOPSON)

Hymn at a time of ‘levelling up’ – A promise of heaven is fine if you’re dead

A promise of heaven is fine if you’re dead, 

but we’re in the present, need food and need bread,

the Christ that we ‘worship’ to whom we might pray,

would heal in the present, feed folk in his day.



And that still has meaning where poverty kills,

where selfishness injures – that’s not what God wills.

A levelling up, to which we might aspire,

says yes to the sacrifice God would require.



To follow the Christ child from manger to cross,

involves our self-giving not counting the loss,

to take from the poor while we bolster our wealth,

confirms our hypocrisy, signs our ill-health.



The world Jesus promised in action and word

made selfishness something both cruel and absurd;

to love every neighbour of each race and creed,

gave all of God’s grace to meet all the world’s need.


Andrew Pratt; 15/7/2021

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:11.11.11.11



‘This sudden Sabbath gives us pause’ – a hymn response to the Coronavirus crisis – link to new tune by John Kleinheksel added

This sudden Sabbath gives us pause
to rest and to reflect.
What is the focus of our lives
and what is its effect?
We live within a common world,
whatever race or creed;
for things maintaining life and health,
we share a common need.

For some a love of God becomes the
centre of their prayer,
but such a love’s a hollow boast
when neighbours have no care.
The early Christians took the lead
of Jesus as their style,
to hold in common all they had,
to go the second mile.

When people safe-guard all they have,
while others queue in fear,
when those who have are given more,
while hunger’s drawing near;
where is our faith, our common love,
as cries become more stark,
when poverty crowds round our door,
the future clouded, dark?

Now is the moment for us all
to live what we confess,
to live within community
the faith that we profess.
Then let us stand as one with all
we share a common birth,
that on until eternity
love holds each life on earth.

Andrew Pratt 18/3/2020 – In response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Tune: COE FEN; SOLL’S SEIN
New Tune: This.Sudden.Sabbsth.virus.2021.Pratt
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.

No insurance – for Australia

These crazy flames lick and lap at all that ranges round us,
the trappings of our wealth,
experience and existence.
At birth we can’t anticipate our existential ending,
the length of life not ours to count or measure.
But then we face eternity,
or nothingness,
depending on belief.
Like night’s thief, flames hotter than hell’s painting are not some distant image,
but sharpened fronds dissembling each dwelling.
And if we leave reality says,
‘there is no return’.
Can faith uphold us through this conflagration?
Survival walks naked of all that we have known,
valued or possessed.
That is the option open to us.
Our Hobson has no choice.
So if we die we will know what rests beyond this life.
Remaining so much is loss or lost.
Whichever path we walk pray this,
pray only this,
that now and on beyond this moment
the love a letter writer once described
will hold,
enfold
and keep us still through all that is to come.
And no insurance…just the faith…

Words © Andrew Pratt 4/1/2019