A world once rent by turmoil
will suffer once again,
the memories once buried
have surfaced with our pain,
the hatred that enslaved us
has found another dawn,
while love and grace are tattered,
bedraggled, lost and torn.

Once Christ had shown through living
the way to human life,
to cut through human hatred,
confronting human strife,
when those who made religion
an idol to defend,
stood fast against oppression
until life's very end.

God give us strength to covet
the love that makes us whole,
to claim again your promise,
the value of each soul.
God give us grace to cherish
your love above each creed,
to value every neighbour
through thought and word and deed.

Words: Andrew Pratt (born 1948) © 27 June 2015 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.

Metre: 76.76.D.

Suggested tunes: Wolvercote (StF 563i), which has an underlying confidence reflective of our endeavours to “cherish your love above each creed, to value every neighbour through though and word and deed” (v.3). Alternatively, more sombre in mood is “Passion Chorale” (StF 273)

More information

News from Charleston and other places around the globe in the last few days has prompted this text”, wrote Andrew Pratt of this text. He was referring to the shooting, on 17 June 2015, of the pastor and nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church (AME) in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, while they were gathered for a Bible study. All but one of them were killed.

Known as Mother Emanuel, the church is home to the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore and has been a key part of the rich history of the American south, from slave revolts in the early 19th century to the civil rights movement. Read more about Emmanuel AME’s history and about Martin Luther King, who spoke here in 1962.