More hymns, poems and a lament – for the innocents

Following the interest in the recent post from Rev Rex Hunt, Rex has provided us with more useful resources for worship or events that call for a focus on the critical nature of a world of political, religiousRex Hunt and military conflict. These are the result of his initiative in responding to a friend’s request which went like this:

“I think if we are at war with various parties in the Middle East we can sadly expect to have incidents on our own soil that remind us that innocent by-standers sometimes share the costs of what we do elsewhere for whatever noble reasons.

They are extremists when they hurt us and we hate them for what they do: and rightly so.

But I guess those who hurt us or our kith and kin empowered by what we call a warped understanding of their own faith, possibly think the same way about us – or those who represent us back there in the conflict zones of the ME…

I sometimes wish that someone would write a hymn or two that reflects the agony of the innocent on both sides – the confusions of our faiths and the way of the Jesus of history that directly addresses the issues of now, but I guess  that may be not possible.”

The resources were kindly provided by Rex’s colleagues and follow:

POETRY/HYMNS FOR HEALING PROJECT, 2017

Collated by Rex A E Hunt

Hymns – New Words/Old Tunes

 I Can Not Tell…

Tune: ‘Londonderry’

I lose myself in mists, in mists of wonder. His faith in God, near takes my breath away. I know now why, he lived his life for others To give them hope to live another day.

What love is this, that tempts the risk of dying. What love is this, that powers cannot see.

It is a love that faces every evil.

A love that costs and sets a people free.

The left-behind, he sees and calls them to him. The last and least, he hears and understands He lifts them up and graciously includes them His gift of love is held in broken hands.

What gift is this, so undeserved yet given. What gift is this, that comes with so much care It is a gift, that changes understanding.

A gift, a gift, for people everywhere.

His story reaches us across the ages

But clouds of time, can’t hide the truth he brings. He speaks of hope with passion and conviction:

The world must change, must change for hope to sing. What hope is this, that heals the shattered spirit.

What hope is this, that conquers doubt and fear. It is a hope, that reaches through the darkness

A hope, that shines, that shines so bright and clear.

So here I stand, as one who hears the calling: ‘Come follow me – and walk more peaceful ways’. See in each life, a promise to be treasured.

And every heart, the chance to live it’s days.

What peace is this, where violence finds no welcome. What peace is this, that turns the other cheek.

It is a peace, that turns away from anger

A peace that shows the courage of the meek.  (David Pargeter, November 2016)

“Stir Up Compassion”

Tune: ‘Was Leben’, 12 10 12 10

Hopeless to help in the face of catastrophe, helpless while watching this picture unfold, history repeating with such regularity, innocents injured while violence takes hold.

Where is the love when our cities are targeted,

common humanity shattered or lost?

How can we love when such hatred is harvested, offering grace while not counting the cost?

God bring compassion to heal our communities, love reaching deep to the centre of loss, meeting us deep in our horror and fearfulness,

vulnerable saviour of comfort and cross.  (© Andrew Pratt 4/6/2017)

 Alternate Last Verse:

Stir up compassion to heal our communities, love reaching deep to the centre of loss,

meeting each neighbour in horror and fearfulness,

draw us together through comfort and cross.  (© Andrew Pratt 5/6/2017)

 “Give Me Your Hand…”

Tune: ‘Stewardship’

Hopeless to help in this violence, this crisis, here in the focus of bloodshed and fear, common humanity binds us together,

love at the centre, not hatred’s veneer.

Jewish and Christian and Muslim together, all the world’s people, we each have a place.

Love is our purpose when those filled with hatred break down relationships, nullify grace.

Give me your hand, then let peace grow between us, let us rebuild what distrust might destroy.

Now in this moment we’ll make a commitment,

love is the weapon we’ll use and deploy.  (© Andrew Pratt 20/1/2015 & 18/1/2015)

 All Roads”

Tune: ‘Crusader’s Hymn’. Traditional Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus

Silent, our wondrous earth spins through the universe

clear, bright, and blue from a million miles. Yet on its jagged face,

scarred by the human race,

there walks a lonely, hungry child.

Freedom, we all desire, to wealth, we all aspire,

while she bears sorrows we’ll never know.

Might we not see our lives

as viewed through troubled eyes and for her sake, our mercy show?

Faced with our privilege, honoring our heritage

might ours be duty with love imbued.

Truth must we ever seek; with wisdom ever speak; the dignity of all pursue.

Some roads are walked with ease; some make their pilgrims bleed;

all lead away from the world we’ve known.

Seeking another way might we create the day

where all roads are with beauty sown?  (© 2015 gretta vosper)

 May We Cast the Vision”

Tune: ‘King’s Weston’. Traditional Hymn: At the Name of Jesus, Every Knee Shall Bow

Are we not still dreaming of a world of peace, where all live in freedom and all hatred’s ceased? Are we not still hoping for a fair new day,

one for which all suffering long before did fade?

Have we not the knowledge that can feed each child, shelter  ev’ry  family, nations reconcile?

Have we not the wisdom to look back and see

all that’s come between us throughout history?

Can we not be faithful to the call of love;

all it builds between us, is that not enough?

Can we not find reasons to reach out and share – all we own, together – all because we care?

On this day, we’re dreaming of a world made bright, freed from all its sorrows, living into light.

May we feel the courage stirring deep within.

May we cast the vision

and this work begin.  (© 2017 gretta vosper)

 “Communion in a Time of Dread”

Tune: ‘Sursum Corda’, 10.10.10.10

One truck delivers us our wine and bread

Another swerves and leaves our children dead One driver sings a hymn of love and life Another chants a call to holy strife

One phone is used to set a bomb alight Another used to comfort those in fright And yet both users share a common Source The same antenna gives their signals force

We seek communion in a time of dread Yearn for a table that for all is spread

Our broken hearts are blind to creed and caste

But burn for love to reconcile at last.  (Jim Burklo, 6/5/2017)

“Morning Has Broken”

Tune: ‘Bunessan’, 55 54D

Morning has broken, torn by explosives, Leaving a trail of death in the sky.

Morning has broken, broken in pieces, Filling our hearts with fragments of ‘why?’

Why does the tree of terror keep growing, Spreading its poison deep in young brains? Why does the tree of evil keep thriving, Spreading its fear deep down in our veins?

Why do we Christians feel so deserted, Left by our God in helpless dismay?

Where is the Christ who loves even ISIS? How can we rise to find a new way?

Come Mother Morning, come with compassion, Guiding our souls down pathways of love,  Love that now even our enemies feel,

Sensing God’s gift of peace from above.  (Norman Habel)

 When Terror Rips Our Life Apart” (A Forgiveness Hymn)

Tune: ‘Breslau’, 88 88

When terror rips our life apart, When we lie shattered and confused, In touching our oppressors hearts We find how they were once abused.

Abuse takes many, many forms, Abuse of body and of mind;

The hurts that form a cross-shaped now Or ones which history has defined.

We each have hidden in our hearts Past warfare of our kith and kin Destroying others in Christ’s name,

Defacing God who dwells within.

Before condemning dark desires To kill or maim both me and you

Recall Christ pleading from the Cross “They really don’t know what they do”.*

 

Forgiveness is the Spirit’s way

To heal the grief of broken hearts, It binds the fragments into one,

A whole restored from shattered parts.  (William Livingstone Wallace)

* Luke 23:34

Lament

 A Lament for the Ongoing Destruction of Innocence” (a) John Cranmer (6 June 2017)

(No. 1)

Intimate god — deepness of soul What of these powerless ones What of these innocent ones Called to live timelessly

Within this everlasting grip of terror

These crippled ones

With their roots deep in this nonplace Contested by empires for millenia Empires — life-deforming life-controlling

Empires where the names and uniforms change As the oppression grows in depth and heaviness

 

Perhaps though

With a deep irony of contradiction It has been the imposition of empire

That has given refuge-space for these Space to grow like weeds in the cracks

Within their tightly constrained survival-places Finding a semblance of holding to life

Born into a world that knows how to hate

A world honouring sweet embittered vendetta Throughout the generations

Relying on the minions of the faraway lords To maintain a semblance of festering order But never a heart-reconciliation

 

But such possibilities of imperial balance Are fragile and cannot hold the edges Days of chaos and anarchy are foretold

And come to be like the collapsing house of cards That has been denied foundation

 

Except to hate and thus to survive

These powerless lose their fiction of hope Naked in the presense of seething oppression

In their Hell’s Cockpit of disfunctional humanity

 

And you the god

In whom these powerless pawns of history Still place their trust

Who are you? — where are you?

Where is your comfort for their age-long affliction?

Where are you god of many names

With your stories of the naked one become divine?

Stories iconed in the crucified christ

In the flagellation for the murdered Immam (b) In the haunting faces and broken bodies

Of those dead before their natural time Living in the everpresent nightmares Of those still alive

Until they too arrive at their final grieving Their last memories of a world

So at odds with itself

(No. 2)

Powerless ones Innocent ones

Called to live timelessly

Within this everlasting grip of terror

 

Crippled ones

With your roots deep in this nonplace Contested by empires for millenia Empires — life-deforming life-controlling

Empires where the names and uniforms change As the oppression grows in depth and heaviness

Perhaps though

With a deep irony of contradiction It has been the imposition of empire That has given you refuge-space

Space to grow like weeds in the cracks

Within your tightly constrained survival-places Finding a semblance of holding to life

Born into a world that knows how to hate

A world honouring sweet embittered vendetta Throughout your generations

Relying on the minions of the faraway lords To maintain a semblance of festering order But never a heart-reconciliation

But such possibilities of imperial balance

Are fragile and cannot hold the edges

Days of chaos and anarchy are foretold for you And come like the collapsing house of cards That has been denied foundation

Except to hate and thus to survive Powerless — you lose your fiction of hope

Naked in the presence of seething oppression

In your Hell’s Cockpit of disfunctional humanity

And where is the rumour of god

For such powerless pawns of history You who still place trust in such as this?

Where for you is the god of many names As you tell your stories of the naked one Become divine?

Your stories iconed in the crucified christ

In your flagellation for the murdered Immam (b) In the haunting faces and broken bodies

Of those dead before their natural time Living in the everpresent nightmares Of those still alive

Until they arrive at their final grieving Their last memories of a world

So at odds with itself

(a)

Sadly these words and emotions could be said of many many places and people around our fragile planet.

Iraq — Syria — Afghanistan — Congo — Sudan — Myanmar These and many more

(b)

Look for this story at the heart and origins of Shia Islam

Prayers

 For Times of Disaster and Tragedy

This has been a week of horror and of joy of indescribable tragedy

and acts of unselfishness and courage.

Around the world, here in [Aotearoa New Zealand], but today especially we think of [name place], lives have been lost.

We have been reminded of our vulnerability, our humanity as nations and individuals.

We are stunned by the destruction of lives and buildings landmarks and communities.

We are made aware of grievances—

religious and cultural, economic and political—

for which peaceful solutions have not been sought and violence has been used as if it’s a solution.

We give thanks for the bravery and generosity of ordinary people:

—rescue crews, police, fire fighters, medics, social workers

—people who have donated blood and food and blankets

—people pulling together to support each other in grief and generosity.

In our nation, our communities and homes

we remember that conflict resolution and peaceful solutions rely on our being mindful

of others’ and our own humanity.

May we treat others as we would be treated were we in their shoes.

May we be the change, the peace,

the justice that we seek.  (Bronwyn White)

Way of Justice

In a week that has brought tragedy and loss

when to hear or read the news reminds us, again and again, of our vulnerable humanity

of the violence, so close beneath the skin in this beautiful land, we are aware that there is still

bullying and homophobia in our schools families torn by violence we call ‘domestic’ prejudice against those we don’t understand.

 

In this year

of spectacular acts of terrorism and revenge

and unrecorded, smaller daily acts of discrimination and abuse thoughtless words and actions

that cause pain to those we assume are invulnerable—

We give thanks that there are also stories of courage and love if we look for them:

leaders and individuals in every sphere

who stand up for honesty, fairness and justice;

people in business and politics, workplaces, schools, communities who demand and model ethical behaviour

who work by co-operation not conflict, who speak peace to power.

In this city where we work and live

there are daily acts of bravery, unselfishness and kindness which give us hope

reminding us that the Kingdom of Heaven is here In our hearts and actions.

We give thanks that, in this special place In each other’s company,

the way of justice is one we walk together. (Bronwyn White)

 

Extract from Easter H?koi Litany for Palm/Passion Sunday

[Note: “Hosanna” is used in its original meaning from Hebrew and Aramaic, of “help” or “save, I pray” and “save, rescue, saviour” respectively.]

 Jesus wept.

We weep, too…

for the destruction of our temples

for the stones that cry out when we are silent.

We weep for the exploitation, trade, abuse and rape of the innocent and powerless:

children women men

for the rapists, abusers, the traders and exploiters for those who cannot weep

who cannot empathise or feel another’s pain.

For victims and perpetrators

we cry for justice and work for peace.

We weep for those who have lost hope

for those nearing journey’s end with no sense of resurrection whose losses are too great for stiff upper lips and backbones.

For what we must let go of we weep.

Blessed are you who rebuild what was broken who replant what was torn up

who heal our spirits and our earth.

Hosanna: mercy on us

Blessed are we who come in peace.

 We hear the stones cry out for the destruction of our temples for knowing what’s needed and still not giving peace a chance.

For trying to quiet those who shout for justice In languages or accents foreign to us

for closing our ears to those whose causes we don’t understand.

For the ravaged beauty of the earth and of her peoples we hear the stones cry out.

Hosanna: mercy on us

Blessed are we who come in peace.  (Bronwyn White)

oOo

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