Six hymns based on 'The Canberra Affirmation'

© George Stuart
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics.
(2009). Volume 2. Published privately by the author.

Creativity – The Canberra Affirmation (Tune: ‘Austria’, 87.87D)
When beliefs and rigid doctrines,
Like stone statues cold as death,
Discipline us into silence,
Rob us of life-giving breath;
We can voice our great discomfort
As we recognize the truth
That our life and all our living
Give us insight from our youth.

We would celebrate evolving;
In the webs of life we bond
To the cosmos and our family,
Humans here and those beyond;
Thus we're called to live together
With respect for all that is,
For the cosmos and our planet
With respect for all that lives.

'Creativity' is present
Ever since before the start;
Brings to birth such great abundance;
Gives birth to a loving heart.
With this birthing of the novel
'Creativity' transforms;
Energy and life emerges;
Beauty seen in all its forms.

So we celebrate the myst’ry;
Stand in silence; look with awe;
Countless years in billions ended
Since the opening of the store
Of variety and brilliance,
Of the life-force and of grace;
It's amazing and so wondrous
We can claim to have a place.

Presentness – The Canberra Affirmation (Tune: ‘Ascalon’, 66.8D)
There is a ‘presentness'
In our midst that we confess;
Sensed both within and beyond us all;
This 'presentness' can be
Transforming constantly
In each event and overall.

We give this ‘presentness’
Many names which do express
The faith of those with religious creed;
God', 'Sacred' and ‘Divine’
'Love' and 'The one true vine’
Can prompt the caring act and deed.

We recognize these names
Are but only passing frames
For all the pictures we have been taught;
Each image we attempt
Can never be exempt
From all prevailing views and thought.

To this grand mystery,
Our response can only be
Far and beyond what we understand;
For our ability
To search infinity
Can never match such high demand.

Jesus – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Triumph’, 87.87.87)
We would honour one called Jesus –
Wisdom teacher, Jewish sage;
Nurtured by his own tradition
And religion of his age;
Long ago he took his journey;
setting forth from Galilee.

Through distinctive oral sayings,
By the parables he told
Of inclusiveness and justice,
Of integrity so bold
He invited others trust in
his great vision for his day.

Life, one's neighbour and the ‘sacred’
Re-imagined when he taught;
Table fellowship was open -
Symbol of his warm support;
As we too share in his vision,
we affirm and follow him.

The Bible – The Canberra Affirmation (Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87.87.47 extend)
We receive the Hebrew Scriptures
And the Christian Scriptures too
As collections, human writings
Rich in mem'ry and review;
These describe attempts, responding
To the 'sacred', sensed as true.

Indispensable, this Bible
Is part of our heritage,
In tradition, pers'nal journeys
It finds us at every stage;
Reading, list'ning and debating,
Finding wisdom for each age.

Yet we claim the right to question;
Take responsibility
To interpret texts and stories,
Searching each quite critically;
Then empowered with life's schooling
Wrest its wisdom honestly.

We accept that other sources –
Stories, poems, many a song,
And imagination pictures
Of our life, both weak and strong,
Join the process of our searching
For the 'sacred'; all belong.

Paths to the Sacred – The Canberra Affirmation (Tune: ‘Ewing’, 76.76D)
We recognize the' sacred'
is sought in many ways,
With diff’rent paths to travel,
with diff’rent passageways;

Midst serious disagreement
we still respect, with grace,
Diversity of truth-claims;
for each can have its place.

We honour diff’rent meanings
and much integrity
Surrounding each tradition
in this diversity;

We also honour people
with righteous piety
Who practise their faith-teachings
with poise and dignity.

Attempts to convert others to
sets of fixed belief
Is not part of our program,
sustained or even brief;

For we reject the process
if it is not their choice
In open explorations
through which they have their voice.

Values – The Canberra Affirmation(Tune: ‘Tallis Canon’, 88.88)
Transforming is the path we take
With others, to community;
This path involves compassion bold,
Inclusion and integrity.

The values this path asks of us
Is to adopt, uphold, support
Equality, connectedness
In social action, noble thought.

This path entails a peaceful stance;
It seeks non-violence in its heart;
And with forgiveness at its core
Has harmony its counterpart.

This path invites a passion strong
In stewardship of all the earth,
For all life forms and nature's charm,
For us to recognize its worth.

This path encourages and prompts
Good humour, challenge, deeds of grace;
With acts of generosity
To bring a smile to every face.

The centre of this path we find
A oneness, we can all rehearse,
With self, the 'sacred', others too;
A oneness with the universe.