Joy beyond words

Metre: 11 12 11 12 + RefrainTune: Jesus is Lord

(for the Parish of Rochester & Mary Jeffreys who commissioned this hymn)

Joy beyond words breaks with the dawn of Easter,
crucified lord, side pierced by sword, raised from the grave!
Death rules no more for Jesus Christ is risen –
Sing praise and thanks to heaven for God’s saving love!
Alleluia! alleluia!
Choose life earth’s sons and daughters, sing Alleluia!

Doubt and belief fill life in equal measure –
both bear a truth, there is no proof: we can’t know all.
Jesus is Lord in gift of Easter’s triumph:
minds lit by mystery’s presence in faith, hope and love.
Alleluia! alleluia!
Choose life earth’s sons and daughters, sing Alleluia!

Live God’s great truth in Easter’s risen saviour!
Now all can see love sets us free from fear and death.
Each life is blessed by hope and history meeting
as God in Jesus Christ conquers pain, sin and loss!
Alleluia! alleluia!
Choose life earth’s sons and daughters, sing Alleluia!

© Neil Thompson 2019

A Hymn of Peace

Metre: 86 86 86 86 (Double Common Metre)Coe Fen

Written to commemorate the centenary of World War 1 Armistice — Remembrancetide 2018

We yearn for peace but still fight wars
and fail to learn God’s ways;
the past is blamed to find a cause
for warring present days.
Come Spirit blessed to make us new,
break habits, hate and fears –
to see the Christ in other’s view
and feel His pain and tears.

In Bible’s page the nations fight
and claim that God is theirs.
Forgive us Lord, restore our sight
that we might live our prayers.
The past is drenched by blood and loss
through wars and violent ways;
may Jesus on his holy cross
redeem our human days.

This simple gift for all the earth,
once won on history’s stage:
love’s tortured death, stripp’d of His worth,
spills out to every age.
The fallen – broken, lifeless dust –
by Christ are healed and raised
beyond our power; the Father’s trust
by Church and world be praised!

Lord, grant us strength to fight for peace
and speak love’s truth today;
with wills resolved we’ll never cease
to watch and love and pray:
that all may live in freedom blessed
and care for those in need.
In peace may the departed rest,
from time and death be freed.

God’s peace fulfils and blesses life,
it heals the aching soul;
there is a way in place of strife
that makes all people whole.
This hope is real but costs our pride:
Lord, help us choose love’s way
where hearts and minds are open wide
In this and every day!

© Neil Thompson 2018

Metrical Gloria ~ Glory to God and peace for all his people

Metre: 11 12 11 12 + RefrainTune: Jesus is Lord

(for Mary Jeffreys who commissioned this setting)

Glory to God and peace for all his people;
we worship you, give thanks so true, honour and praise.
Glory to God in Jesus, Son and Saviour:
you take away our sin and for mercy we pray.
Glory to God! Glory to God!
Peace from the highest heaven: sing glory to God!

Glory to God whose majesty and mercy
seen in the Son, love’s holy one, Jesus the Lord.
Glory to God for Jesus Christ our Saviour
who with the Holy Spirit and Father is one.
Glory to God! Glory to God!
Peace from the highest heaven: sing glory to God!

Glory to God the hope of every people;
Give us that light in human sight, Spirit and truth.
Glory to God whose love in Jesus risen
takes every life and moment to heaven above!
Glory to God! Glory to God!
Peace from the highest heaven: sing glory to God!

© Neil Thompson 2018

Breath, beasts and straw

Another breath –
but this one is God’s
– his first
as a brother and saviour,
Jesus.

He comes to us on our own terms
but many say he can’t.
This birth is a fact of history
and also much more:
the refutation of human glory,
self seeking and personal triumph
whilst at the same time each and
every soul’s hope and the
promise of the unimaginable.

Without Him our lives
are but as straw;
without love we
are nothing but
brute beasts.
In our midst God is born.
Emmanuel.

Both then and now
and till the end of time,
our cold and poverty,
the beast and the straw
are filled and inhabited
by a glory we cannot see
– yet.

© Neil Thompson 2018

Metrical Gloria ~ Glory to God and highest praise

Metre: 86 86 (Common Metre)Tune: Wiltshire

Glory to God and highest praise
His people sing on earth;
Worship and thanks to you we raise:
Grant peace, our world’s new birth.

Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb once slain,
To take away all sin,
Have mercy on our selfish gain,
Your love all people win.

For you are God the Holy One,
You are the Lord Most High,
Who with the Spirit praises run
In Father’s glory nigh!

© Neil Thompson 2018

Dare to stop

Stop!
Look? Listen? No –
Wait!

Advent is the time of waiting.
We rarely choose it
for waiting teaches us
we are subject to time.

We invent the clock,
the measure
but the power is beyond us.

Time embodies mystery
and brings change
with glimpses of memory and expectation.
Stop and we might experience the beyond.

Advent is the threshold of God’s coming in time.
Am I too busy and important to stop?
It is control and complacency that
corrode our souls and darken the glimpse of glory.

The journey of wonder lies in the waiting;
we reach Bethlehem by stopping.
Even a heartbeat can drown out
the song of the angels.

Stop.
Think too much
and the world floods back in.
The everything of God
is born in the poverty
of Bethlehem and me.

Empty is

the altar;
the manger;
the cross

– until He comes.

© Neil Thompson 2018

Metrical Gloria ~ To God we sing on high

Metre: 66 86 (Short Metre)Tune: Sandys

To God we sing on high
With worship, thanks and praise;
His glory reigns beyond the sky:
Brings peace to human days.

In Christ we see the face
Of love, the only Son,
The Lamb of God whose saving grace
O’er sin and death has won.

Receive our prayer, O Lord,
The high and holy one –
In Jesus Christ and Spirit poured
The Father’s glory’s done!

© Neil Thompson 2018