The locus of love and anger is the paradoxical centre for worship in the theme of the passion of the Christ. During a conference at The King’s University College I was exposed to social justice worshipper, John L. Bell. He and Graham Maule wrote this powerful song to a traditional Irish melody. It might surprise you to be conflicted by the catchy melody and the convicting words.
May you enter into worship and prayer to the Saviour who has come to “tip the balance with fishermen and fools.”
Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain,
Informed of God’s own bias we ask him once again:
“How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind?
How long dare vain self interest turn prayer and pity blind?”
From those forever victims of heartless human greed,
Their cruel plight composes a litany of need:
“Where are the fruits of justice? Where are the signs of peace?
When is the day when prisoners and dreams find their release?”
From those forever shackled to what their wealth can buy,
The fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cry,
“Don’t query our position! Don’t criticise our wealth!
Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth!”
To God, who through the prophets proclaimed a different age,
We offer earth’s indifference, its agony and rage:
“When will the wronged be righted? When will the kingdom come?
When will the world be generous to all instead of some?”
God asks, “Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?
And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?
And who, when few bid welcome, will offer all they know?
And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?”
Amused in someone’s kitchen, asleep in someone’s boat,
Attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed and wrote,
A Saviour without safety, a tradesman without tools
Has come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools.
1987, 1997 WGRG, Iona Community