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January 15, 2006

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» "Here I Am, Lord" from Catholic Light
Amy Welborn's got a fun thread about that Schutte song: apparently most parishes sang it reflexively according to the Scripture reading for the day.... [Read More]

Comments

ml

We sang it.

Tope

*hand raised*

Bill H

*raises hand*

Lynn

I'm afraid so...

D. Scott Miller

We were spared. *sitting on his hands*

Tim Ferguson

nope, not here either. But I went to the Tridentine Mass...

Fr. Totton

hmm...

scotch meg

Alas, yes...

Oh, and the reader read the wrong 2nd reading. We got St. Paul on the variety of gifts rather than the need to avoid immorality. It wasn't last Sunday's or next Sunday's, so I'm assuming it was the wrong liturgical year.

TheLeague

I sat through "Here I Am, Lord" today at the 11 AM Mass at St. Michael's in Silver Spring, MD. Good priests, bad music. The bad music always gets me thinking, and this time wondering if God has notions of taste and recognition of excellence. I mean, there's Bach and Beethoven. There's Handel. I am convinced that there's the hand of the Lord in marble (Michelangelo), in words (Dante), in oil (Rubens). But in a world that possesses the C Minor Mass, the Icelandic Sagas, and Albrecht Durer, where does Dan Schutte, the poet of "Footprints" and Thomas Kinkade fit in? I know it's a stupid question to ask but did mediocrity exist in the Garden, or was it a consequence of the Fall of Man? Who takes the blame for Thomas Kinkade?

Oh, and the psalm reading today was from Psalm 40. And you know it's bad when you realize that U2's setting of the song is better than what's in the misselette.

paul

No, and judging by the music leaflet, wasn't sung at any of the other masses at St. Matt's this weekend.

Joe

Here in our country parish in the English Midlands, we ignored 'Here I am' altogether - homily was on the 'Lamb of God' and so we sang 'Crown him with many crowns'; 'At the Lamb's High Feast'; 'O Godhead Hid'; and 'Hail Redeemer King divine'. We also had Credo III for good measure (as we do each Sunday).

mio

On behalf of our choir, I apologize for inflicting this cheese on our community.

Chad

Yeah, we sang it, along with Haugen's "Gather Us In" and Haas's "We are Called". I don't remember getting all three of my "favorites" at the same Mass before.

Jeff

Whoaaaa . . . i worshiped at a Methodist parish today, and . . . wait for it . . . we sang :Here I Am, Lord"!

Universal indeed . . .

[/snark]

Charlotte Allen

Yeah, we sang it, too--during Communion, no less! Or rather, I should say that we "sang" it, since, as it's essentially unsingable, hardly anyone in the church actually joined the song. Wish I'd been able to go to Joe's church.

Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

We did not have "Here I am," but the psalm response was, "Here I am, Lord, hear I am, I come to do your will," in a contemporary setting. I had all three Masses with music (our retired priest had the Mass sans musical accompaniment). I can't recall the opening hymn at two of the Masses, the third was "praise-style" song; our youth minister wants to try some music in that vein and I said fine, we'll see how it goes. The closing hymn was "City of God," which I don't care much for, but I can tolerate it as long as we don't sing it all the time. The preparation hymn was "The Summons," which isn't bad, except some of the language is a little odd, "if your life should attract or scare," "kiss the leper clean." At one of the Masses, we needed a second communion hymn, and the organist played the Omer Westendorf hymn, "You satisfy the hungry heart," which I think is very fine. I don't recall the main communion hymn.

My homily was about vocations, principally to the priesthood (2nd week in a row).

LC

Nope, not at the Mass I attended.

David Nowaczewski

hand up

little gidding

Raises hand. (Communion Hymn)

But--all the other hymns were great old Protestant ones--The Church's One Foundation, Praises and Thanksgiving, etc.

This comes from our parish's having recently invested in the St. Michael's hymnbook. (yay!)

Steve Nicoloso

Nope. We got "Gather Us In" instead. Oh-n- "They'll Know We are Christians"

Steve Nicoloso

... but we DID chant the sending... which was a first for me.

Patrick Rothwell

At the risk of sounding like Pauline Kael, I don't know anyone who likes "Here I am Lord." Does anyone?

george schmauch

yes, we sang it too, in the lutheran church. i don't dislike it particularly, even though it's from that ghastly "new" hymnal :)

Sonetka

Yep, we had it too. (I went to the Newman Center this weekend, though, so can't speak for my usual parish, which usually has EXCELLENT music - now I'm curious about what they did!) At least there was no "They Will Know We Are Christians" - that's the one that really steams me. And the homily was excellent. But oh lord, the music ...

Sandra Miesel

We did the double: "Gather Us In" for the processional and "Here I Am for Communion." But the Offetory Hymn was an odd thing to the tune of "Ode to Joy" called "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor" which includes a quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (at which point I stopped singing it). The "praise song" was an unfamiliar one about walking along the seashore set to a traditional tune.
But the pastor gave a good sermon on the influence of spiritual mentors, encouraging us to be such guides.

KH

Not only didn't we sing that, but if it were even suggested that something like that should be sung, the priests and choir director would seriously contemplate the legitimacy of public humiliation. Better than being drawn and quartered, I suppose.

MS

Oh, yes. Hand up here too.

For communion, the choir sang "Jubilate Deo," which prompted my 7 year old to lean over and say, "Are they singing Moo-latte?" (as in the drink you can buy at Dairy Queen.) Sigh.

cjmr

Yes. But I actually like it, so I didn't mind, even though it wasn't based on the readings in any way.

mark

I'm curious about a song that contains a quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Huh? What are the specific details on this -- is it possible the quote also is contained in the actual Bible and/or in the writings of an early church father, as well as in the Gospel of Thomas?

I shouldn't speak for them, but I think my parents like Here I am Lord.

I find the music discussions here interesting, because before coming to the Catholic blogosphere, I had no idea there were a lot of Catholics who didn't like the music at their churches. My extended family isn't particularly musical, but in casual discussion about church music, I've never heard any of my relations say they didn't like the music or longed for older hymns or chant. I don't have a position; just my observations on the issue.

Maureen

Hmmmm, at the risk of being a minority here, I like the song "Here I Am, Lord," which we did sing at Mass this weekend. We also sang "The Summons," and the same psalm as Fr. Martin's parish. Also making a showing was "I Have Loved You" by Joncas.

Augustinianus

Nope; a couple dignified organ hymns, the settings from the Missa de angelis, and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" at Communion.

*tries to wipe that smug look off his face*

Anne-Marie

Hand up.

Also "The Summons."

Also something that began "Come follow me, down by the sea."

Also, as the so-called Song of Sending, "We Shall Overcome," sung solo by the cantor in a very showoffy style.

I've got to start waking up early enough to go to 7:30 Mass.

Ellen

Yup.

Ellen

Yup.

ann

Sing a New Song; Here I Am, Lord; Ecce Panis, Lift High the Cross - we pretty much have to use what's in the Missalette.....

Lee Podles

Not only did we have “Here I Am” at St. William’s, Naples Florida, but as a communion hymn we had “Lord, You Have Come” by the defrocked child-molester Robert C. Trupia. He liked to write hymns with double entendres. Trupia was with the future Cardinal Mahony at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo.

I trust that the music director at St. William’s just had musical bad taste and did not know about the origin of the hymn he chose. I couldn’t take communion. The former pastor of St, William’s, Neil Flemming, was close friend of Bishop Nevins, was removed from the priesthood after allegations of abuse.

Eileen R

At the risk of sounding like Pauline Kael, I don't know anyone who likes "Here I am Lord." Does anyone?

Err... I do.

*hides with Maureen*

Jay Anderson

My hand is in the air.

Frank Sales

We sang it in Toronto. And, like Sandra's church, the homily was on spiritual mentors. Is there North American homily prep service?

Meggan

In answer to Patrick's poll: Yes, I do like the song. We didn't sing it though. That's perfectly fine with me because I get tired of singing the same songs all the time.

We had a three singers, two of which played the guitar. That's fine. I normally don't mind that kind of music at all. Today, however, it grated on my nerves. I wasn't feeling well, so my mind wasn't where it was supposed to be. I was irritated that the singer didn't come to the ambo to sing the Psalm. I was irritated when she didn't sing the last verse of the Psalm. (But at least she did sing the Psalm that was in the Missal). I was irritated when the singers sang a Holy Holy Holy and a Lamb of God that no one knew and that was really difficult to sing. I was irritated that they sang a song that no one knew during Communion. I became even more irritated when I looked through the missalette, in the "Eucharist" section of the songs, and saw a song that would have fit perfectly with the theme of the readings for today. I was irritated that they waited until everyone sat down after communion and sang "El Shaddai". I was irritated when the congregation clapped at the end of mass.

But... in spite of all that irritation I was moved to tears, literally, at the homily. The homily itself was wonderful and, as our priest usually does, he ended it by bringing it all into the context of the Eucharist.

JennE

hands up - communion song

Ray from Minn

I have to start bringing the Mass handout home with me. I'd better throw another quarter in the envelope, too.

Do you suppose I would look like a spy if I started taking notes during the sermon, er, homily?

John

No because I choose the hymns!

Nicole

Communion song.

Nicole

Mary Kay

raising hand...

Homily by visiting priest rather good despite rather weak Scriptural underpinning.

puella

Nope!

Thank goodness for the existence of Dutch parishes (all right, it's the Cathedral) who actually sing stuff in Dutch. So the question is a bit out-of-my-domain.

Mary Kay

forgot to add that I like the song out of association with Masses that contributed to who I am today. But then again, there are very few Mass songs that I actually dislike.

Sherry Weddell

No - but its the single most likely song to be sung at a parish that is doing a Called & Gifted workshop - so I have sung it hundreds of times on the road - it doesn't matter what part of the country I'm in!

In my experience, there are about a dozen songs that are repeated endlessly in US parishes - and "Here I Am, Lord" is at the top of the list.

Justine

Hand in the air. Wow, that's freaky!

MJ

I knew this was coming ... Yes, we sang it. I have two criteria for choosing (rather banning) songs -- 1) Is it theologically objectionable? and 2) Is it musically/poetically objectionable? I purposely set the bar pretty low for both of those, and this song gets through. It's a favorite of the choir, and with the first reading, I just couldn't resist. Hey, it will be three years before we have this excuse again!

JuliaA

You bet (sigh). Today it struck me for the first time that in Scripture Samuel only responds to Eli with "Here I am". When the Lord calls him he says, "Speak, for thy servant hears."

Julia

Elaine

Hand up. Opened with All are Welcome, which I managed to miss through sleeping in. Rolled out of bed and scurried out the door at 10 minutes to Mass time, and got there just in time for the readings. Responsoral Psalm was Cooney's setting of Psalm 40 (what's U2's setting, where could I find it?), Offertory Here I Am, Lord. Communion got the Servant Song, closing was I am the LIght of the World. Which struck me as rather out of tone with the rest. But no one asked me.

The homily, as I remember it (I had trouble staying focused, see above, re sleepiness) had to do with serving the Lord and persevering even when things don't look that good and prayers aren't answered instantly.

Red-faced

We did, because I programmed it.
I hate it, but I will not be guilty of forcibly wrenching away music that a large part of the congregation loves, the way was done to my parent's and thier friends 30 some years ago.
So I grit my teeth, and play that insipid jingle and try not to imagine how the priest would look with Mike Brady's poodle perm or Carol Brady's shag.
But I program it only rarely (it used to be used at 50% of the Masses here,) and bit by bit try to introduce better music.
I've drawn some musical lines in the sand, but that bit of doggerel is one I am not willing to go to the mat on with the pastor (he loves it as much as the PIPs.) I've got to save my energy for fighting the songs that actually espouse heresy.
Bad taste is not a mortal sin.
(Gee, think I'm defensive enough?)
On a side note, the lectors went O-for-5.
Yup, every single Mass, we were told that the body was not made for immortality.

John P Sheridan

Not at my church.

If you actually did a poll of people in the pew, I think the bloggerati might be surprised at how popular "Here I am Lord" and "On Eagles Wings" actually are.

The first time I heard "Here I am Lord" when I was a kid, I thought it was beautiful. Now I'm sick of it.

I never liked "Gather Us In."

little gidding

Re: Gnostic hymns

There is also Sydney Carter's "hymn" called "Lord of the Dance" that comes from the Gnostic Acts of John where Jesus leads a round dance and where, like in other Gnostic literature, Jesus merely puts on a show of crucifixion and, trickster magician-like, reveals that the real Jesus didn't die on the cross, but rather a surrogate, and the real Jesus "leaped up high."

This thing is still sung in some Catholic Churches.

Marie

We went to the 7:30 am Mass Without Music, so we were spared the Brady Bunch hymn ("I have heard you calling in the night" sounds to me exactly like "who was busy with three boys of his own...."). But our parish too has invested in the St. Michael hymnal, and our new pastor insists on good music, so perhaps we will never hear that particular tune in our church again.

Liz

*raises hand*

Also, heard Mass of Destruction (er.. Creation) played faster than I would have though possible.

anna domini

Hand up in (wait for it) Chateauguay, (Christ-haunted) Quebec. Communion.

Julie

As a pastoral musician, I used 'Here I Am, Lord' for this liturgy(rarely for another liturgy during the year), to draw attention to the connection between the 1st reading and the Gospel. For a preparation hymn, 'The Summons' was chosen. These both pertain to calling. FYI, those who are well trained musically and liturgically can often feel pressure not to play anything unfamiliar from both priests and parishoners. Things are beginning to improve in many areas, though. Chins up!

Mark R

Yup.

Mary Kay

little gidding, I just looked again at the words of Lord of the Dance. I suppose if someone was already leaning towards gnosticism, but that wasn't the way I took the verse. Just goes to show that while music can supplement and amplify worship, it's not a primary source of theology.

Gashwin

Hmm -- going to the evening Mass, so I don't know. But, let me stick my neck out and join the minority here that likes this song. [Sticking neck quickly back in and retreating into hobbit burrow ...]

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Totally missed it at Quaker meeting today. But I think there's a strong probability I'll be getting it at an Episcopal service later in the year, so I'm OK :-).

Veronica

"At the risk of sounding like Pauline Kael, I don't know anyone who likes "Here I am Lord." Does anyone?"

Err, I actually do, as well as the whole congregation (we sung it in Spanish). Granted, some of the lyrics are probably different, but I still like the song.

fbc

Are you kidding?

One of the reasons (okay, it was only a minor one -- let's just call it a benefit) of defecting to the Tridentine rite is never, ever having to listen to people attempt to sing this glop again.

Wouldn't go back to that for all the cheap plastic junk in China.

Mike Hayes

As an FYI "Here I Am Lord" was recently voted one of the most popular hymns in the church. Those of you who like it and are hiding--cmon out! There are plenty of others who will stand with you.

Going to mass now (5:15PM) will see if my parish has it.

John Gibson

Nope... Not at my parish... but then again.... I am Byzantine so I am pretty protected from that stuff.

Also if you read "Why Catholics Can't Sing" he talks about Here I am Lord as one of those "Voice of God" songs. He also talks about the melody as part of the Brady Bunch. After I read that I couldn't sing it anymore.

There was a comment about how music is supposed to amplify worship... In the Byzantine Church our our Theology is chanted, our music is our Worship.

John

Judy

We had Here I am Lord, The Summons (nobody seemed to know that) then "Oh, Lord, When You Came to the Seashore and closed with Amazing Grace.

After Mass, our pastor, introduced one of our ushers who told us about his new book, "Frank McKinney's Maverick Approach to Real Estate Success: How You can Go From a $50,000 Fixer Upper to a $100 Million Mansion"

Frank who ushers at our 7 AM Mass said he had a trailer outside Church where we could buy a copy. He said $5 would go towards our gradeschool and the balance would go towards he and his wife's McKinney's Caring House Project Foundation which provides shelter for the world's most homeless.. McKinney said we might like to see the trailer which is wrapped in a giant version of the book's jacket because it had been used by the Rolling Stones. He is going on a book tour to about 20 something cities to publicize the book.

My husband and I think it is wrong to pitch a book from the altar,especially one about financial success, but McKinney has been in our parish for years and we think he is sincere in his faith,even when no one is looking...won't go into the details of that, but we believe it. I copied below what the winner of The Apprentice says about Frank.

"If Hollywood were casting the role of a maverick who started with very little and went from a $50,000 fixer-upper to a $100 million mansion, they would choose Frank McKinney. Frank McKinney's Maverick Approach to Real Estate Success represents his approach to life. He decided to apply that approach to real estate and look what happened!"
—Kendra Todd, winner of The Apprentice"

The highlight for us today was a great petition to "end the sin of abortion".


sj

Yes, as the communion hymn. And I like it, though I also like the Latin hymns as well. At my old Methodist Church, our Lay Leader argued with the pastor that it should be sung every Sunday.

Peony Moss

*hand up*

Colleen

Hand raised, eyes roll! God forgive me, but I cannot stand that song!

Other songs today:
"On Eagles Wings"
"Christ be our Light" (which I like despite myself!)
And one other modern marvel which I conveniently forget - not City of God (thank God) which they do with tamborines 100% of the times it is sung.

Yesterday at a funeral Mass "Lord of the Dance" was done. :-(

Donald R. McClarey

No! Thank God!!

Alia

Communion hymn at my parish.

Jimmy Mac

Most Holy Redeemer, San Francisco.

Not one but 2 versions: the familiar Dan Schutte one and another version I had never heard (didn't keep the song sheet so don't know the name of the author). The 2nd version was actually better musically, but the DS version is a favorite at our parish that sings its heart out all the time, and we BELTED this one out.

And we ended with "We Shall Overcome" ... it was the weekend of Dr. M. L. King's birthday, you know.

Yes, I like HIAL, too.

Ellyn

affirmative.
Blech.

Janet

Not at my church. And I've just realized that I have yet another thing to be thankful for!

little gidding

Sydney Carter wrote "Lord of the Dance" inspired by Gustav Holst's musical setting of the explicitly Gnostic (and Docetic) "Acts of John," a work that was rejected by the Church early on. If you read the "Acts of John" you can clearly see why, and you can see how the "leaped up high" verse figured into the Docetic doctrine, along with the "trick" of substitution of the crucified figure. Holst himself was quite intrigued with the modern rediscovery of the occult, and was linked through family ties with Theosophists and astrologers (his lingering interest inspired his composition of "The Planets").

It is true that one could sing "Lord of the Dance" without necessarily finding heresy in it because its Docetism has been subdued somewhat through metaphor--although why would a Catholic think that the Lord Jesus *is* something as amorphous as the cosmic dance?--but that doesn't mean that it's not suffused with doctrine that was explicitly rejected by the Church. To my mind, "Lord of the Dance" is in a category by itself as far as inappropriate church music goes. Other songs discussed in this thread, while out-of-kilter in some ways or relying on sloppy sentiments, I can forgive and sometimes even find a way to enjoy, but the popularity of "Lord of the Dance" in Catholic churches just really rubs me the wrong way.

Mary Kay

John Gibson, I love the Byzantine liturgy and music. I phrased the comment above that way because the in the Latin rite, Mass can be celebrated without music and also, I wasn't sure the phrase was entirely theologically correct, but it was as close as I could come off the top of my head.

Amy, many apologies, I know you like this to be a straight poll, but today I seem to have the compulsive Talk button stuck in the On position.

reluctant penitent

Very depressing. Are the composers of these silly songs aware of the despair that they arouse in a significant percentage of Catholics? Would the people who love this stuff be disadvantaged if the Vatican banned it altogether and mandated Gregorian Chant?

Mr. Podles, I sincerely admire your ability to stick with your parish given the circumstances there. I don't think I could have done it.

paul

With the risk of exaggerating only slightly, I am pretty sure "Here I Am Lord" was played at each special school-wide Mass I ever went to in grammar school, and it was one of my favorites growing up probably due to familiarity (along with "City of God.") But if I were to hear it today, I would be in the "ugh" camp.

Josephine

We sang it today, I love this sone

Troll

I'm amazed at the number of comments that discuss personal likes and dislikes of specific songs. Considerations of taste are distinct from considerations of quality. Music in the Church will not improve if we continue to think of it and discuss it in this way. I make it a point to tell our choir director "good job, that hymn was appropriate for mass" and she never fails to answer with some variant on how everyone likes it or it's her favorite hymn. This is a ridiculous way to select music.
These arguments are similar to the ones involving formation of conscience. Yes, you should follow your conscience, but you must take care to ensure that it is properly formed or it may lead you astray. If your understanding of good art isn't formed by being a Catholic, you will end up wanting to hear something like what you hear on the radio every day when you go to mass. The mass is meant to transport us, not to remain earth-bound. "I, me, my, we" music is self centered and earth-bound. We are there to be drawn into the life of the Trinity, not to "express" ourselves or have a nice, bonding, campfire sing-around.
I am trying to teach these (musical) princlples to my 6 year old. My 8 year old loves Bach and plays him all the time, and as a result my 6 year old doesn't enjoy it. I've explained to her that she needs to learn to appreciate this music because it is great. It is in an entirely different catagory than a 3 minute pop song or a lullaby, although we may like them all equally.
We need to encourange a serious discussion centered around what kind of music is appropriate for mass. What exactly happens at mass? What kind of music can bear the weight of what happens there?
I once heard an older priest say that you should never choose a song like "Amazing Grace" for a funeral because it can't stand up to the event. I've always liked that hymn, but I understood and agreed with his point. It is a "light" hymn.
Will all these light hymns be around in 150 years? Should we teach our children hymns that will sustain them through good and bad and help them grow in faith, or should we teach them to follow current trends?

Gerard E.

Yep.

Lawrence King

Yes.

I love the song. And before you anathematize me, let me say that I despise Anthem and the St. Louis Jesuit music and much of Marty Haugen's music.

But what's wrong with this song?

St. Elizabeth of Cayce

Newman Center Parish. 9 AM Mass.

Hand up.

Opening: Gather Us In (frequently used in this Mass. As we practiced ahead of time, the "new light" was "streaming" in the eastern stained glass window just above a statue of Christ--it put me in a great mood for our liturgy.)

Psalm 40: Here I am, Lord, Here I am, I come to do Your will. (There's 3 of us that sing at this Mass, and the harmonies were pretty tight--the parishioners seemed to appreciate it. I was also struck by the other references to Samuel in the text--besides "here I am", there's the part from chapter 15 on God not desiring sacrifices, but rather obedience.)

Offertory: The Servant Song (It's our Padre's absolute favorite. Plus, it fit with Samuel saying to God "Speak, for Your servant is listening.")

Communion: Behold the Lamb of God (the one with "Those who dwell..." It's one that folks know well, so that, if they wish, they can sing along while in line to and from receving the Eucharist.)

Sending: Here I Am, Lord. We do a couple neat things with the sustains at the end of the chorus, and it's pretty popular here.

So, I guess I'm with those others out there with sheepishly raised hands--like the song well enough, hadn't noticed the Brady Bunch connection before.

JenB

wow. You guys are HARSH! I really like this song, I wish I could live up to giving the Lord his due much better as the song leads me to sing! BTW, I know this will irritate many, but it was sung here at FUS this weekend. It's not as bad as some of the other ones. Like the "Yoo-hoo" song: "Yoo-hoo dwell in the shelter of the Lord". Or the song that NO ONE knows when to sing the next note because it is written SO terribly: Be Not Afraid.

It's not that bad of a song, we just are all sick to death of the really bad ones, 70's style.

Lawrence King

Interesting. It seems that many of the commenters dislike this song because they heard it growing up, or they heard it mixed in with lots of other dreary music.

I never heard this tune alongside other dreary music. In fact, the first time I ever heard it was in an abortion clinic's waiting room, when I was sitting alongside one or two dozen Operation Rescue folks, singing a capella.

So for me, I will always hear this song as the author intended it: submission to the will of God, difficult as it may be.

mh

Yes - it was the processional (or "gathering" hymn, if you like that term).

The Offertory hymn was "Servant Song", which was redemptive.

cecilia

Not at my parish!

We sang traditional Catholic hymns and at the end of Mass while Father was vesting for the close of the Santo Nino novena and Benediction, we sang Ave Verum. All the hymns for Benediction were sung in Latin. Afterwards we all went to the parish hall for a huge feast of Filipino food.

Amy

Hey all, please note that I didn't dis the song in my original post - I just asked who heard it!

And Troll...over the past four years on this and other blogs we have had countless discussions of liturgical music teasing out the issues of personal taste v. genuine issues of what is, according to the sense of the CHurch, appropriate and not for liturgies.

Lawrence King

Sandra Miesel wrote:

But the Offetory Hymn was an odd thing to the tune of "Ode to Joy" called "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor" which includes a quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (at which point I stopped singing it).

Mark asked:

I'm curious about a song that contains a quote from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Huh? What are the specific details on this -- is it possible the quote also is contained in the actual Bible and/or in the writings of an early church father, as well as in the Gospel of Thomas?

The full text of the song can be found at the bottom of this page, and also on this list of heretical hymns. The specific line that Sandra is referring to is this:

Raise the stone and you shall find me; Cleave the wood, and there am I.

This is from Thomas (saying # 77 in the Coptic, but # 30B in the Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus). It is not in the canonical Scriptures, of course. [See the chart of parallels here.] Nor was it known to the Church Fathers, as far as I know, because it is listed in both A.T.Robertson's Harmony of the Gospels and in the Catholic Encyclopedia's Agrapha article as coming from Oxyrhynchus and nowhere else (these were written prior to the Nag Hammadi discoveries).

under the dome

Yes, although I don't consider it among the worst that OCP has to offer.

The Communion hymn was "Behold, Behold the Lamb of God", which is one out of the OCP books that I am uncharacteristically a fan of. I don't hear it too often, but I do really enjoy it for some reason.

Jamie

Heard it here!

reluctant penitent

'I didn't dis the song in my original post'

I did detect some irony in the follow-up question about the 'universal character to the liturgy,' but maybe I was just projecting my own prejudices.

mikeg

Ha ha ha. I didn't even think of how common it would be as I sang along this morning. I guess it's good for lots of Catholics to know songs in common but ... does it have to be this one?

lourdes

Yup. Once I saw the reading, I knew we were getting it. Also had "All are Welcome" as the processional. Then a spiritual for a communion meditation (which was beyond the ability of the cantor, unfortunately) and "Lift High the Cross" as the recessional. Interesting combination.

Charlotte Allen

I don't think it's such a bad song, and the lines "I, the lord of snow and rain/ I have borne my people's pain" and "I will break their hearts of stone/ Give them hearts for love alone" are quite lovely. The problem is that 1) it's extremely difficult for a congregation to sing, given its unusual rhythms--so even if people like it, they sure don't sing it (at least in my church); and 2) it doesn't have anything to do with the Mass, especially Communion.

Re "The Lord of the Dance": I googled the lyrics, and while they're not my cup of tea, they don't seem unorthodox. During the early Middle Ages, the "leaps of Christ" were a common motif of religious literature. Christ was supposed to have leaped onto the cross (that is, willingly embraced his death for our sins), for example, and then leaped from the grave at the resurrection and into heaven at the ascension. So while the "Lord of the Dance" may be a little hippie-dippy, it's not necessarily Gnostic (unless we know for sure that the author was writing in code).

Lawrence T. Peter

About a year ago I, when I was serving in Iraq (as a civilian in the CPA), I was attending Sunday Mass (held at 5:00 p.m./1700 -- inside the Palace formerly known as Republican, with a Muslim prayer area in the opposite corner) and our temporarily assigned USAF priest--who was a tremendous man--was conducting his last Mass in Iraq. Our final closing hymn was the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Normally we would sing, as in many parishes I suspect) only the first two verses of the closing hymn. On this particular occasion, we sang the first two verses, went on to the third. Voices became stronger and we went on to the fourth. It was time and we began the fifth verse, every voice raised in unison, in reaffirmation and jubilation--our singing echoing from the marble walls. It was quite possibly the most memorable hymn I have ever heard, every participated--in in any religions service.

I love to sing at Mass, as tonedeaf as I am--never do I have the opportunity to sing with so many talented persons; and outside of Mass, none of them would ever want to sing with me !

GNGBU

Al DelG

Nope - although we did sing "Sing a New Song" --- waaaay overplayed. I knew a priest who lamponed it "Sing an Old song unto the Lord, Sing the same song everrrry Sunday...".

I have found "Here I Am..." inspiring on occasion and don't mind hearing it once in awhile.

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