A hymn about work

A hymn about work (Tune: Melita – Eternal Father, strong to save)
This is one of those hymns that will be useless on almost every occasion except for the tiny few occasions when it’s useful. 

For all with heavy loads to bear,
with calls to serve, protect and care,
Whose work and life bring hard demands,
With others’ welfare in their hands.
Lord, help them thrive in all they face,
Upheld by your all-loving grace.

For all who find their work to be
A test of their integrity,
in contracts brokered, deals secured,
In choices faced and stress endured,
Lord, grant to them the strength they need,
To follow you in word and deed.

For all who long for work and pay
To buy enough to live each day.
When skills are offered yet ignored,
And patience reaps no real reward,
Lord, where we only see despair
send purpose, hope and justice there.

For all whose work is never done,
Whose call is answered in the home,
Frustration, tiredness, love and care
Combine to build the kingdom there.
Lord, give to all whose work is love
Your inspiration from above.

In all that we will do this day
Be near us, Lord of all, we pray,
In words and actions, work and rest,
May all our moments be so blessed
That when our years and days are done
We’ll find our life has just begun.

New hymn – loosely based on Luke 13.10-17

Really struggled to find plenty of hymns for this Sunday’s gospel (the woman bent double, whom Jesus healed on the Sabbath).  So I tried to write one. Not sure if it’s pants or useful or a bit of both!  If you like it, you can have it!  It goes to the tune ‘Slane’ (Be thou my vision / Lord of all hopefulness), which I think most people in most churches probably know. 

Jesus, our Saviour, your life-giving breath
brought order from chaos, and life out of death;
You give us your Spirit, now help us impart
that gift to our neighbour­ as a gift from the heart.

Jesus, our healer, the touch of your hand
fills us with new confidence, helps us to stand;
Your strength in our weakness is power indeed
to stand up for others whatever their need.

Jesus, our brother, your love never ends:
makes slaves into children, helps strangers make friends,
may love be the lesson we learn and we teach,
may love be the motive for our actions and speech.

Jesus, inspirer and source of all good,
we stand here on earth as of old you once stood;
The Church is your body,  the task you begun
is ours to continue till the work here is done.

Love Life Live Lent Friday of Week Three: do something different

Tomorrow’s action is to do something different by trying to have a screen-free day – which is why I’m writing this now!

Tomorrow is my day off, as it happens. I’m not morally obliged to answer emails, and it should be possible for me genuinely to have a screen-free day – any other day of the week and I’d really really struggle. But from the tweets that have been coming in today in anticipation of this particular challenge, for many people the idea of having a screen free day is something they long to do, but genuinely can’t. If you’re working and your work demands that you spend most of your day looking at a screen, and if most of your human contact comes via electronic means, then this challenge may feel like adding insult to injury.  You’d love to spend a day without being a slave to your laptop or tablet. But you can’t.

But remember, the actual heading for the LLLL action is, ‘Do something different’.  The challenge to do without the computer is an example of what this might mean – and for those of us who don’t absolutely have to engage via technology, but are just a little bit addicted to it, it’s a challenge that is well worth trying, and might well be a hugely life-giving thing to do.

But for those who really are chained to their computer all day, the challenge to do something different remains. What that looks like in real life is worth spending some time thinking about.  Fundamentally, the challenge is to dare to break the habits and patterns that we’ve got stuck in, and that have ended up controlling our lives.  The challenge is to confront those habits and patterns and to ask ourselves whether we have become a slave to them, and if we have, to work out ways of regaining some freedom.

So if you’re stuck with the screen during office hours, what about when you take a break?  Do you have the option to leave your desk and go outside at lunchtime? To go for a walk or take a different route to and from work so you see different people and landscapes?  Eat something different, or wear something colourful that you wouldn’t normally wear, try out a different perfume, or do something different with your hair – anything to stimulate your senses and keep you alive to the world beyond the screen.  So many of us get stuck staring ahead of us at a glowing rectangle, all day, every day, but we are people with bodies, with a sense of taste and touch and smell as well as the sight or hearing we use to engage with people via technological means.  This challenge, to do something different, could be a way of noticing all over again who you are and what matters to you.

And if slavery to the screen isn’t your particular form of slavery, this challenge is still a chance to work out what is.  What habits and ways of being are keeping you captive? And if you forgo them for a day, what new joys and discoveries will rise up to fill the gap?

So many of us get stuck in routines and don’t dare to think about what could be different.  Yes, it’s a risk. If we’ve always done something one way, what happens when we don’t?  Yet it’s essential to being a living being that we change and grow and respond to our environment, learning new things about ourselves and about the world around us all the time. Accept the challenge to do something different and this could just be the first day of the rest of your life.