This was written for Coventry Cathedral, as the final hymn of their diamond jubileee celebration service, on 25th May 2022. The first, second and final verse are suitable for any service on the general themes of reconciliation, forgiveness, diversity, and so on. The third verse is particularly suitable for the Cathedral, reflecting on the history of that specific building and how destruction paved the way for its ministry of reconciliation.Most of the scriptural, cultural and theological references are probably fairly obvious, but if anyone would like me to provide a short commentary, I’d be very happy to do so.
Be in our midst, and gather us together, and let your loving-kindness be our guide, Help us discern your image in each other, and walk with humble footsteps by your side. Send us to work, O Lord, Almighty Giver, ‘till all who thirst and hunger now are filled, Let justice thunder like a mighty river, And let the storms of strife and conflict now be stilled.
When all the world’s great sorrows overtake us, and we are crushed by centuries of pain, lend us your strength, and lovingly remake us that by your grace we may be whole again. And when the sins of passing generations make all the wounds of hist’ry still feel raw, send out your healing power among the nations, and fill this broken earth with heaven’s peace once more.
*A verse for the Cathedral only And if the cross, the site of such destruction, a sign of violence, suffering and sin, can be redeemed to witness resurrection, and be a place where life can still begin, then iron and wood and stone can sing their stories: ‘Father, forgive’ these very walls have prayed, that what was lost could birth still brighter glories, and what was hurt can be transfigured and remade.
Grant us that peace beyond the mind’s discerning, Help us to live the truth that sets us free. And may the Spirit’s fire within us burning help us become who we are called to be. In eager longing for your new creation, a world reshaped by love and hope and grace, with Christ the Prince of Peace as our foundation, we’ll build your kingdom now, in this and every place.
Really delighted to have two hymns in the new collection from Jubilate, ‘Hymns for our contemporary world’, which aims to resource churches in responding to some urgent and critical themes in contemporary life but which are not widely addressed in traditional hymnody. The first one has just been released, and explores environmental themes from a political, social and economic perspective. It can be sung to ‘Finlandia’ but has also had a beautiful new tune written especially for it by Peter Burton. You can watch the lyric video, download the words and sheet music on the Jubilate website.
You made a universe so full of wonder, gave us a world to cherish and to hold. But we have treated it as ours to plunder: what you gave freely, we have bought and sold. What you made perfect, we have torn asunder: do not, O Lord, your healing power withhold.
In generous love, the pattern of your caring, we have been blessed with more than we could need. But we have hoarded what was meant for sharing, corrupting what you gave as fruitful seed; and still it is your poorest children bearing the cost of all our selfishness and greed.
We hear the voice that calls our generation, the urgent cry of beauty scarred by pain. Our lives must change in this and every nation so prayer and action shall not be in vain; we pledge to live in ways of restoration until your earth is whole and good again.
Copyright (c) Ally Barrett/Jubilate (as with all my Jubilate hymns, this is covered by CCLI so will need to go on your annual return).
Now it’s almost advent, here are some Christmassy things (NB see also my other post on Advent things) that might be useful. Sorry it’s a bit of a jumble of things all together. Please do feel free to use any of the pictures in any way that’s helpful. I’ve marked whether the words can just be used freely or if they need to go on your CCLI return.
Some more clipart-y images:
A simple Christmas carol to the tune of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy:
Little baby, sweetly slumbering, Cradled and cuddled in Mary’s loving arms. In the sky are angels gathering, but for now, here below, all is still and calm.
Little baby, our Emmanuel, God with us, one of us, born to be our king. Little baby, while you slumber, Far above you angels sing.
We know you came to save us all… But how can God become so small…? For God so loved all he had made He sent his Son the world to save……
An easy Christmas song for children to sing The tune is ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’.
Sing of the time the angel came, the angel came, the angel came, Sing of the time the angel came to bring the news to Mary.
Sing of the birth at Bethlehem, at Bethlehem, at Bethlehem, Sing of the birth at Bethlehem, the baby in the stable.
Sing of shepherds from the hills, from the hills, from the hills, Sing of the shepherds from the hills, who came to worship Jesus.
Sing of the brightly shining star, the shining star, the shining star, Sing of the brightly shining star, that led the kings to Jesus.
Sing of the love of God on earth, God on earth, God on earth, Sing of the love of God on earth, that brings us close to heaven.
Star of wonder (Tune: Sing Hosanna) – Christingle song for Epiphany
We give gold for a king, keep us serving, We give gold for a king today, As we give, it is Christ we are serving, We’ll keep serving Jesus every day.
Star of wonder! Lead us onwards, Show the way to find the world’s true light. Star of wonder! Lead us onwards, Shine around us through the night.
We bring incense today, keep us praying, We bring incense to him today. For the needs of the world, keep us praying. Keep us praying to him every day.
Star of wonder…
We bring myrrh to remember his passion, As he shared in his people’s pain, In our lives we will show his compassion, As we live for Jesus every day.
First, do check out www.adventonline.faith for a massive range of newly-created resources, to which I’ve contributed a handful of things, along with dozens of others (it’s all available under creative commons).
Now, some things from me. Please do feel free to use any of the pictures in any way that’s helpful. I’ve marked whether the words can just be used freely or if they need to go on your CCLI return.
When I am feeling dull and grey, and sunshine seems so far away, when I don’t know quite where to start, I remember the stardust in my heart: all it needs is a tiny spark to get me shining in the dark, So Jesus, give me your fire divine to let my little light shine!
Advent Wreath Song (to the tune ‘Father we place into your hands’)
Mothers and fathers of the faith, who lived in times of old, Leaders and judges, kings and queens were faithful, true and bold, Travelers, heroes, shepherds, all with stories to be told: Still they show us how to follow you.
Prophets and seers who spoke the truth in answer to your call, finding new ways to bring your word to people great and small, living their lives to show your love was meant for one and all, still they show us how to follow you.
John, in the desert calling out, ‘The Kingdom has come near.’ ‘Come and repent, and be baptised, there’s nothing then to fear.’ ‘Jesus is coming now, the One you’re waiting for is here.’ Still he shows us how to follow you.
Mother of Jesus, angels called her favoured, full of grace, Holding the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, in her embrace, She is the one whose ‘yes’ helped God to save the human race, still she shows us how to follow you.
And this last verse, for Christmas day, is by my friend and colleague Gill Robertson:
Jesus our Saviour, born a king, we welcome you today, Lord of all time, Immanuel, with joyful hearts we say: You are the Christ who came to earth for us; and now we pray, Help us all to daily follow you.
Another Advent wreath song (tune: sing hosanna):
There’s a story to tell of creation, And the patriarchs’ faith of old, There are stories of prophets and sages, We’ll repeat them ‘til the world’s been told:
Sing together! sing together! Sing to welcome in the King of Kings. Sing together! Sing together! Sing to welcome in the King.
There are stories of sin and forgiveness, Of a Kingdom of truth and love. Of a girl who gave birth to a baby, To fulfil God’s promise from above:
As God’s people prepare for his coming, And remember those days long gone, Our own stories are yet to be written, As we live to make God’s kingdom come:
We will patiently wait for the morning, Through the night we will watch and pray, As we look for the light that is dawning, We’ll be ready at the break of day:
And another Christingle song (tune: My Favourite Things):
Earth is so small in the whole of creation, Continents, oceans And each unique nation, Cultures and languages, All so diverse, All on one planet In one universe!
Thanks be to God For a million reasons, Food on our plates From the fruit of the seasons, All that we have Is a gift from above, Plenty for all if we share it with love.
Light of the world For a people in sorrow, Faith that can give us Real hope for tomorrow, Since on the cross Jesus bore the world’s pain, Bringing new life At his rising again:
When the world seems Full of trouble, God will hear our prayer: Our mission is living as lights in the world for everyone everywhere!
This is your body, for your people giv’n, We break the bread, and voice the sacred song; Food of the angels, taste of highest heav’n, crumbs dropped for all who fear we don’t belong: We are your body, help us dare to share all that we have, and offer all we are.
This is your blood, the pain that makes us whole With love was pressed from this live-giving vine, The smallest sip can warm the coldest soul, And fill the human heart with fire divine: We are your body, help us yearn to share all that we have, and offer all we are.
We are your body, fed with heavenly food, Washed through the blood that flows with heavenly love, And then you send us, by that love renewed, to find that earth is full of heav’n above. We are your body, in your grace we share all that we have, and offer all we are.
I wrote this one last month too, and forgot about it. Again, sorry.