Acrostics

Acrostics mean a lot to me because they are a memorable way of reflecting on a significant point. They are quite hard to write, especially if you want them to rhyme, but I think they’re worth it.

(PS – if you like acrostics, please also check out my blog, which regularly includes new ones)

Objects of God’s Love – God’s love is unconditional. Is ours?

Disciple – an acrostic written for our church’s year of discipleship

Thin Places – are there places where we feel especially close to God?

Songs of Praise – more than just a good sing!

Prayer – prayers don’t have to be long and complicated

Doubting Thomas – inspired by a post-Easter sermon

Prophets – sometimes they’re ordinary people…

Rainbow – a colourful reminder of God’s promises

Remembrance – an acrostic written for Remembrance Sunday

Saints – sometimes these are ordinary people too…

A Blessing – the Celtic Christian tradition is especially good at pronouncing a blessing…

Happy New Year – a particular blessing – and challenge – for a new year

Year of Young People – an acrostic specially written for the Church of Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People’ (2018) but it applies to everyone under and over 25

Creation – an acrostic written for the World Day of Prayer 2018, whose theme was ‘All God’s Creation is Very Good’

Victory – an acrostic written for anyone who finds that ‘victorious living’ isn’t always easy on a day to day basis

Pilgrim – we’re on a lifelong pilgrimage, alone and together

Rejoice – smile, God loves you!

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Objects of God’s Love

’Orrible ’ooligans
Bad boys wiv bovver boots
Junkies, users, boozers
’Ells Angel ’eadcases
Chancers, shirkers
Trailer trash
Sex workers

’Ooray ’Enrys
Feral youth

Gamblers, wide boys
Outcasts, outsiders
Dossers, down-and-outs
Smackheads, layabouts

Losers, loners, winos
Oddballs, weirdos
Vagrants, hoboes
Everyone, in fact

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Disciple

Dare we risk opening up, sharing,
Intent on being mutually caring
Sisters and brothers – not fairweather
Christians, but friends growing together?
Inquiring, going deeper, seeking God’s will,
Praying, listening, then going deeper still
Learning what it means to be salt and leaven
Engaging with Jesus twentyfour-seven.

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Thin Places

Time pauses and
Heaven touches earth
In special places where
Nearness to God suddenly happens.

Present meets eternity,
Light dazzles
And we encounter the living God.
City or country, garden or wildness:
Everyone finds their oasis, a
Still point of calm and sanctuary.

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Songs of Praise

Soprano, alto, tenor, bass
Offer thanks to the God of Grace
New hymns, old hymns, anthems raise
Gospel songs and ancient lays –
Sing a sacrifice of praise.

Organs, praise bands, harmonise;
Fanfares echo to the skies!

Powers of darkness: feel despair,
Recoil as worship fills the air! –
Aware that Heaven’s victorious King
Inhabits the very words we sing.
So saints on earth lift up your voice,
Even the hills and trees rejoice!

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Prayer

Perhaps, more often, we should just listen and be still
Receiving God’s guidance, expecting to be blessed
Accepting that God knows our needs, and is eager to fulfil.
Yet when we do speak, God heeds even the simplest request
Each childlike prayer is heard: for the prayer warrior’s skill
Rests in honest everyday words, not just our Sunday best.

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Doubting Thomas

Didymus, the twin, was not in the room
On the Sunday of the empty tomb.
Unless he witnessed flank and limb
Believing wasn’t an option for him.
Then the Lord returned, dispelling doubt:
In front of all, He pointed out
Nailmarks and the spear’s
Gash, recalling God-forsaken tears.

Thomas rarely grasped things first time round –
His doubt was real, his faith profound.
Overwhelmed, humbled he confessed
My Lord and My God” – and then was blessed.
And the twin became a saint of steel:
Sincere doubts can make faith more real.

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Prophets

Prophets are messengers who
Respond to God’s warning word,
Old or in their youth.
Prophets bid their comfort zone farewell,
Holding fast to what they heard
Even if they must tell
The most inconvenient truth.
Sometimes it has to be you!

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Rainbow

Recalling an eternal promise, a covenant sign
Arched over the earth, God’s valentine
Ineffable light made visible in refraction
Noah discerned that it meant ‘God in action’
Being ever alongside us, the Ancient of Days
Occupying our hearts, inhabiting praise
Wavelengths of God illuming our ways.

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Remembrance

Recall, O Israel, your deliverance
Escaping Pharaoh’s army, brought safe to shore;
Moses’ song of triumph, Miriam’s victory dance.
Each day a fiery pillar going before
Multitudes wandering in Sinai’s harsh expanse,
Becoming a special people united by perfect law.
Remember’ cries the psalmist, ‘and cast a sidelong glance
At how God has saved us in times of peace and war’.
Nations delivered from direst circumstance,
Captive souls plucked from Sheol’s jaw,
El Shaddai, God of victory, God of the second chance.

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Saints

Sometimes ordinary people do
Absolutely extraordinary things;
It’s quite possible the person in the pew
Nearby will suddenly soar on eagle’s wings
Taking God’s calling to pastures new,
Surpassing their wildest imaginings.

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Blessing

Before you rise from this place
Let a blessing rest on you and yours
Everywhere you go may you encounter grace,
Safe in the promise that always endures;
So may the ground rise to meet your feet
Insecurities and worries cease
New friends be amongst the people you meet
Go in joy, go in love, go in peace

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Happy New Year!

Hear the bells ring out for Twenty-Nineteen
Announcing January, bidding farewell to December.
Put aside regrets about what might have been,
Prepare instead for a year to remember.
Yesterday’s past, and now we stand

Needful of guidance as we face the unknown,
Enquiring prayerfully into what God has planned –
Will He lead us beyond our comfort zone?

Yet God has not given us a spirit of fear;
Each Christmas He cheers us with Bethlehem’s birth.
And Jesus asks from each of us a New Year
Resolution – “to find fresh ways of being salt of the earth”.

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Year of Young People

Yes! to the hopes and fears,
Energy, vision, fresh ideas,
Actions, dreams, decisions,
Radical views and visions

Of the under-25s –
Faith-inspired, vibrant lives.

Yes! to the music and songs
Of a thousand youthful tongues
Uniting us as we seek and search
New paths to revival in our church –
Generation “Z” has some really cool

Prayers and prophecies for renewal!
Everybody, play your part,
Old and young and young-at-heart:
Pick up the baton, pass it on
Let’s seize the moment before it’s gone
Every child, every teen, everyone.

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Creation

Cosmos called out of infinite dark,
Restless void roused by wisdom’s spark
Emergent shapes formed in deepest night
A piercing voice summoned primal light
The sun and moon obeyed its command
Infinite life teemed through water and land
On ground that was once mere dust, Adam stood.
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Victory

Victory doesn’t mean a bed of roses every day
It’s more likely that we’ll carry on facing the flak
Cherished by God, yet still wandering astray
Taking two steps forward and one step back.
Often victories happen when we share, we pray,
Reaching out to each other when things look black,
You and I walking side by side on the pilgrim way.

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Pilgrim

Pathways trodden together kindle trust
In pilgrims, as we share one another’s load;
Life’s journey requires – as well as wanderlust –
Guardian angels to guide us on the road.
Refreshment happens when a kindred friend
Inspires us on to Zion if our pace has slowed,
Making sure, together, we reach our journey’s end.

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Rejoice

Relish every action which seems wise and fair
Enjoy each blessing, and each blessing share
Jot down details of every answered prayer
Observe God’s handiwork always, everywhere.
Incline your ear to the Spirit’s voice,
Counselled and comforted in every choice –
Even in the dark times, yet you may rejoice.

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