Monday, November 10, 2014

An unhappy hymn experience

I had a pretty uncomfortable experience with one hymn in church yesterday. In only four verses -
·       We affirmed God (or possibly Jesus) as “King” and “Captain”
·       We invited each other to “face the foe”
·       We discovered ourselves bought with the “lifeblood” of Jesus for his “diadem”
·       We acknowledged the “conflict” would be “fierce”
·       And the “foe” would be “strong”
·       (But, being  in “the King’s army”, we would win
·       Because “unchanging truth” would make sure of that)
·       We were “chosen to be soldiers” for “our Captain’s band”
·       But “grace divine” would keep us on the right side

And, to wrap it all up, an Amen was offered at the end of it

Between the words that are  meaningless to many people, the non-inclusive language, the theological concepts that spring out of an alien age and the triumphalist implications that Christians will always win out in the end, not to mention the pervasive militaristic theme that is offensive to the honour of those Christians who, at great cost, stood out against war, the entire hymn left little that I could sing with an easy conscience

1 comment:

  1. well said Dave, I too have had trouble voicing so many of the regular hymns that we sing. I remember one that had the line 'our forefathers groping went ...' given the publicity around sexual abuse in faith communities, that was a no-no. I cannot sing any song that has 'atonement theology' content. and now you are beginning to realise why I retired from parish ministry and became politically active with the Green Party. I was no longer prepared to use my energy and spirit in 'maintenance mode'