A Hymn about bread (which could be for Corpus Christi)

This one goes to the tune ‘Kingsfold’.  Thanks, as always, to those who helped me get it ready for posting, and further comments are of course always welcome. I guess this would work for any communion service, but I had it in mind for Corpus Christi. 

A gift each day, our daily bread
reveals your faithful love,
you keep your pilgrim people fed
with manna from above.
We live, not by this bread alone,
but by your holy Word:
so feed our hearts, and make us one
in you, O Christ our Lord.

All are invited, called from far
and near, to eat this fare;
As all we have, and all we are,
are gifts to grow and share.
You call us now as servants, guests,
as sisters, brothers, friends:
to gather and be richly blessed.
with life that never ends.

In broken body, life-blood shed,
true love was once made known.
In pouring wine and breaking bread
that love again is shown.
We are your body, fed today
for strength, for grace, for good:
Break us and send us out, we pray,
to bring the world its food.

Shepherd hymn

I wrote this ages ago, but it’s Good Shepherd time in the lectionary again, so here it is in case it’s any use for this Sunday.

Tune: Tyrolean melody
with thanks to St Augustine

There came a shepherd from the hillside
searching all alone.
He came to seek and save the lost,
And welcome us back home.
‘O come to me, beloved child’,
The shepherd spoke his plea:
‘Your heart will never find its rest
Until you rest in me.’

We hoped to prove our worthiness
in duty and in care;
We sought you, Lord, in rules and laws,
And thought to find you there.
In all our searching, we forgot
What deep inside we knew:
Our hearts could never find their rest
Unless it was in you.

O search us out and know our ways
In waking and in sleep;
Protect us through the day and night
And in your presence keep.
We travel on in life and faith
And find that it is true:
Our hearts will never find their rest
Until we rest in you.

What do the stones say?

This is a reflection / poemy thing based on the Palm Sunday gospel (the one with the stones), and making reference, among other things, to the Temptations of Jesus, the averted stoning of the woman in John 8, and the prophecy about the destruction of the temple.  

We could have been the temple,
if we were bigger, or more beautiful,
but we are the despised and the rejected,
our shape and size are wrong,
or we are broken, not quite strong
enough; the House of God surely demands
that only perfect stones
may be accepted.

We are the downtrodden,
trampled in the dust,
we are the cursed,
the cause of battered feet and stumbles,
the playthings of the poorest children,
and for the beggars as they sit in boredom,
Equally unnoticed, equally humble.

We are still stone, when once,
we might have become bread.
And just before he turned to look the devil in the face,
to us he bent his head, ‘Remember this,’ he said.

We are still unbloodied, still unscathed,
when once we could have been picked up and weighed
in the hand, and flung in cruel contempt.
He saw us then, as he leant
down to mark the dust
and whispered to us, once again, ‘Remember this.’

We remember how he saw us, even though we
were not intricately carved or nobly
combined in stately, sacred architecture.
He saw us as we were, the least, the small,
the unimportant, despised, rejected all.
We remember how he saved us from the shame
of becoming unwitting instruments of blame.
We remember how he wished that we were food,
but would never use us for his personal good.

We remember.

And now we see him, riding like a king amid the raving crowd,
towards the Temple’s lofty towers, so tall and strong.
And just as we begin to wonder if we’d read him wrong,
he looks deliberately at the stony ground,
then raises his head and looks about
and speaks aloud:
If all the crowds were silent,
then the very stones would shout!

Call us as your witness,
hear this testimony,
about a man who saw us
and gave us this, a story.

We tell that story on every rocky path
and in every wayside cairn,
in every church that’s built from rocks
to be a house of prayer and living sign
of the man who was himself
a stumbling block
to all who could not
love him as the corner stone.

Easter things

Here are links to lots of random Easter things – help yourself if there’s something you like.

A hymn for the Easter Vigil (metrical version of the Song of Moses and Miriam – tune: Kingsfold)

A hymn for Easter Day (based on the John 20 gospel reading – tune: lauda anima / Praise my soul)

A hymn for Eastertide (based on the various resurrection appearances  – tune: Salzburg)

Easter Eggs all age talk (based on the transformative nature of the resurrection appearances)

Easter Sunday short thought (based on the idea of ‘spoilers’ and how the resurrection becomes real for each of us individually – same basic point as the Easter eggs all age talk)

Children’s activities

  • Use the craft card that has a black scratch-off surface with a colourful layer underneath – you can cut the card into cross shapes for younger children to scratch off, or simply give out whole sheets and invite the children to draw on it things that remind them of the new life of Easter.
  • You can also use wax resist to show how the darkness of Good Friday could’t destroy the light and love of Christ (drawing images that represent the love of God with wax on paper and then using a sponge to paint over them in a dark colour – the wax drawings Easter Garden 2014will show through).
  •  Easter Garden – invite your local school to make paper flowers and bring them to their end of term Easter service – use the flowers to create a wonderfully colourful Easter garden.  This one was made using a triptych display board, green paper for the hills, and a fabric-covered basket for the tomb.
  • photo (1)If you made a ‘Way of the cross’ from stones during Holy Week, decorate it with fresh flowers on Easter morning.  This one was made on Palm Sunday (when we reflected on the stones that would ‘shout out if the crowds were silent’ – it gained tea-lights for the tenebrae service, and then dandelions on Easter morning!

Finally, some clipart:

euch-easter dayemptytomb005daffodils005 - Copycross made of flowers

Easter Hymn

Here’s a hymn for Easter day, written for the very lovely Cate Williams.
It’s based on the John 20 gospel reading about Jesus and Mary in the garden.
If you want one that’s more for the Easter season, then try this.
The tune is Praise my soul / Lauda anima, and there’s now a fourth verse to make it easier for those using recorded hymn accompaniments :-)
As always, help yourself if you like it.

Early, while the world was sleeping,
to the garden Mary came;
lost in lonely grief, still weeping
till in love you spoke her name.
Alleluia, alleluia
Nothing now can be the same.

See, the sunlight, slowly dawning
overwhelms the shades of night,
welcoming this glorious morning,
rising with the Light of Light.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Death and darkness put to flight.

Trusted as the first apostle,
Mary swiftly made her way;
bearing this, the Easter gospel
to a world in disarray.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Good news for the earth today.

Risen Jesus, come and greet us:
Speak our name, we are your own;
In your generous love you meet us:
in our lives that love is shown.
Alleluia, alleluia,
Resurrection life made known.