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’, 668D)

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.