hymn

Harvest hymn

Our church band has a limited repertoire of music which has created a challenge to write new words to old tunes. This hymn was written to the tune Cwm Rhondda (Guide me O, though great Jehovah) for our recent harvest festival. It was inspired by a sermon preached by a friend a couple of weeks earlier about the need to cherish the food we eat and remain appreciative of where it came from. It is a little edgier than I thought it would be when I set out to write it (but not quite as edgy as the first draft which my wife thought it would be wise to revise!).

We give thanks for food and drink this harvest,
conscious of our luck and wealth.
Help us to consume in moderation,
only what we need for health.
May we cherish, May we cherish,
All the food we have to eat, all the food we have to eat

On a green but threatened little planet,
we know what we need to do,
Care for soil and atmosphere and water,
farm to grow and to renew.
May we cherish, May we cherish,
All the food we have to eat, all the food we have to eat

Animals are mass produced for slaughter,
often treated with disdain.
Can this be the way that you intended
when you made them our domain?
May we cherish, May we cherish,
All the food we have to eat, all the food we have to eat

We rely on agro-economics,
to supply the food we need.
Help us not forget the end-producer
enslaved by our blinkered greed.
May we cherish, May we cherish,
All the food we have to eat, all the food we have to eat

If we chose to banish wasteful habits
we could eat with food to spare,
Bread of heaven and crystal fountains,
Heaven on earth for all to share.
Bread of heaven, Bread of Heaven.
Feed me now and evermore, feed me now and ever more.

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Creator God – a hymn

This is a hymn I wrote while living in Melbourne when three churches were struggling around the issues about whether and how to unite. There was a tremendous mix of ideas and emotions that this stirred up and the congregations, at times, found the stuggle to come to terms with these almost overwhelming. This hymn was written shortly after a particularly difficult meeting of representatives of all three congregations.

Creator God, forever creating,
Changing our lives, re-creating us still,
May we accept the challenge you offer,
To live our whole lives in response to your will.

We offer you our different opinions,
Listening to all who want to be heard,
Help us to learn that in talking with others,
We may be hearing your guiding word.

Some here are hurting, some here excited,
Others are absent, but present in prayer,
Free us to look for what you want for us,
Keep us united by our love and care.

Honour our memories of friends we have buried;
Hopeful young couples joined in this place;
New birth baptised in life-giving water,
Mourning and joy transformed by your grace.

Help us to deal with large sums of money,
Balancing our needs with those of the poor.
Give us a vision of your love in action,
Planning our buildings so we can love more.

So bless these buildings, so bless your people,
So bless our thinking led by your love
May we create a church for our children,
Worthy of you, God, creator above.

Tune: Bunessan (Morning has broken)

Note: I don’t really believe in a “creator above” and have had several attempts at re-writing the last verse but have never achieved anything that I think matches what I’ve already written. I’d be happy to have suggestions. 

God of Love – a hymn trying to make sense out of suffering

This is a hymn I wrote after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and before I started blogging. Recent events in the Phillipines and particularly the sermon that was preached at my church this morning made me want to look it up again. It’s to the tune of the Largo from Dvorak’s New World symphony (known to many in the UK as the Hovis tune!). I suggest you edit it out the to repeats of the final line from the first two verses but use them last time round.

God of Love, where are you? Can I still believe?
Cyclones blow, earthquakes rip, countless people grieve.
Tsunamis flood, wrecking homes, parting man from wife.
Drought dries up, famines come, babies cling to life.
Do you care? Where’s your power? Why can’t life be good?
Did you die years ago on a cross of wood?

Children weep tears of loss, cameras drink them in.
Broadcast news shocks the world. What a mess we’re in.
Some despair, lose their faith. Others see a need,
picture Christ healing lives, planting mustard seeds,
use their wealth, live their love, in acts both great and small,
showing us God exists, caring for us all.

Gracious God, lord of love, I believe in you.
Prove you live, show your love, in everything I do.
Help me see, though its dark, ways to do your will,
guard your flame, let it shine, bringing comfort still.
Where there’s death, let me grieve, let me share the pain.
Through my love, let Christ live, raise him up again.
Raise him up again.
Raise him up again.

I was recently asked to preach on the subject of prayer and belief and you can read that sermon, which is effectively a  commentary on this hymn at this link. I also took the opportunity to change a the third line of the first verse of lines to reflect some more recent international concerns.

Terror reigns, madmen kill, with bomb or gun or knife.

If you do use the hymn please feel free to adapt it to reflect concerns that are particularly relevant to the context in which it is to be sung.