Prayer for Liverpool
Do you remember ‘Come and Praise’? I am a bit too old to remember it from school, but when I arrived in West Derby as a young curate in 1974, it was already going strong in the village school. It was a blue booklet, published by the BBC, with about 75 hymns. Volume 2 came along a few years later, but it was that first volume which has endeared itself to generations of children. This is the book which made popular ‘Colours of day’ ‘Think of a world without any flowers’ ‘One more step along the world I go’ and that amazing harvest number ‘Autumn days’ which people can never forget once they have learned the words. Several of its songs have found their way into the latest version of that most respectable of hymn books – Ancient and Modern. I’m afraid ‘Autumn days’ was just ‘one more step’ too far!
It was another ‘Come and Praise’ favourite which came into my mind last Thursday on my daily Hope Street walk: ‘Would you walk by on the other side?’ If that doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps the chorus will jog your memory: ‘Cross over the road, my friend…’ It seems to be the only hymn written by Pamela Varrell, who died in 1996.
I would like to tell you I was meditating on Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan, which inspired the hymn, but that would not be true! I have developed the habit of crossing the road to keep social distance whenever possible. On Thursday a woman was approaching me as I began to move to cross over. She did exactly the same, and she got there first. Before we went our separate ways we greeted each other with a friendly smile. The smile doesn’t always happen.
In the song, as in Jesus’s parable, the reason to cross over the road is to offer help to someone in need. Just for now, crossing over to keep our distance happens to be the most loving action in most circumstances. We continue to long and pray for the time when we can once again greet each other warmly, rather than walking by on the other side.
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God