Dressed up on the kerbside a punter to find;
with bodies for sale as they numb up the mind.
They’re stoned because that is the way they can bear
anonymous sex for the ones that don’t care.
It’s cold economics to be on the game;
It’s cold prostitution, no love and no name.
Abusers abuse the abused all the night,
with no-one to care if it’s wrong or it’s right.
These streets are the ones that God left in our care:
we know we should act, and we know we should dare.
to tackle the pimping, the fear and the pain;
but can’t beat the guardians of financial gain.
Society’s driven by money and wealth:
who cares if it’s greedy, injurious to health?
“But we are yours Lord, and to you come to pray
that you’ll act as God: make it all go away!”
God asks us to work so that justice is done;
and exploited children of God have begun
to value their bodies and lives, and to see
their worth in the Body of Christ, loved and free.
Words: © Damian Boddy September 2012 rev. October 2014 [See Damian's notes below]
May be used freely with appropriate acknowledgement
Suggested tune: Mueller (Murray) (Also known as “Manger Scene”) StF 191ii
Written on 15/16 September 2012 at a “Hymns for Healing” workshop at Holy Rood House, Thirsk, North Yorkshire. Damian writes: “The hymn writer John Bell had earlier led workshops on pastoral resources and had noted how difficult it is to write hymns on economics and prostitution. This text attempts to do both at once and, while it is unlikely to be useful for Sunday worship, I hope it will find a place in group discussion.”
The text was revised in October 2014 following feedback at that year’s ArtServe Conference. “The first word of verse three was altered from “those” to “these”, making the text more inclusive – strengthening the sense that we, too, are part of the problem, not merely outside it.”
[Ed: The StF Reference Group agreed with Damian's assessment of this hymn's challenges for use within worship; however, it felt that there would be uses for these and that to be challenged and surprised by texts is part of what hymn singing/reading is about.]