Peter Ould has posted the text of a specially-commissioned hymn that was sung at the ACC’s Opening Eucharist. It is painfully forced and hard to read, and I can only imagine it was horrid to sing. The tune is reported to have been Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, but if that is correct, what a very odd choice indeed for a tune as the meter is wrong, and there is, in fact, no joy in this hymn.
Peter Ould has aptly titled his post “Horizontal Hymn Singing,” (taking the lead from commentary in an AAC report on Day 2 of the ACC meetings) – this is a song all about us and our relationships. While the words of the hymn are perhaps valid as a prayer of intercession, voicing at least some people’s hopes as to what will happen at the ACC meeting, it seems to me that worship should help us lift our eyes to focus on God and glorify Him, and this hymn fails at that.
The other day I was reading John 4 with some friends and I was struck afresh by what Jesus tells the Samaritan woman:
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the hour for true worship had now come, meaning because Jesus was on the Earth, fufilling God’s eternal purpose, revealing the Father to us, we could begin to worship the Father in a new way, in Spirit and in truth. True worship centers around Jesus and opens our eyes to who He is.
We’re still in the Easter season, and one of my favorite Easter hymns is Thine be the Glory. It makes a good prayer as well for the ACC meeting – may Jesus be exalted and glorified through the outcome of the ACC meeting, may His victory be seen and celebrated.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victry Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave-clothes, where Thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, Risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is nought without Thee: aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love;
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.