A bloodied child (The boy in the ambulance) (website only)

Authors & translators:
Pratt, Andrew
Elements of Worship:

The boy in the ambulance

Civil war destruction in Azaz, Syria







A bloodied child foreshadowed by a cross,
both share their taste of evil and of loss,
and when will people ever live and learn
that hurt and harm is all that war can earn?

We hold our breath in horror as we view
this scene forever old, forever new;
amid the dust and rubble strewn around
a child cries out and parents can’t be found.

How long, O Lord we cry, each hollow word,
our pleas of peace increasingly absurd?
Good God, forgive us when inaction’s voice
speaks loudly of our violent, hurtful choice.

Words: Andrew Pratt (born 1948) © 18 August 2016 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.


Suggested tunes: Andrew wrote these words with the tune “Eventide” (StF 141) in mind. Alternative tunes include “The cost of discipleship” (StF 640) and – perhaps surprisingly – “Woodlands” (StF 186)

This text was written in response to the photo of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh – “the boy in the ambulance” – rescued from a bombed building in Allepo, Syria, in August 2016.

Syria’s civil war claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including many children. The shared video images of Omran Daqneesh (for example, Huffington Post) shocked and covered in dust and ash, wiping blood from his face, drew further attention to a conflict as complex as it was devastating. It is an image, as Andrew, suggests, that asks questions of the worldwide Christian community as much as of Western governments.

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