Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hymn for Advent: "O God of Earth and Altar"

We sang this at morning prayer this morning.  I was partial to the second verse, but a re-reading makes me like the first as well.  I'll emphasize the parts that I particularly like.  Sorry the video is a retiring procession, but it's what I found, yeah?

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honor, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.


  1. You know, I used to just suspect that religion was masochism in public with even weirder clothes than normally worn by B&D types, but this takes the cake.
    And as a middle/upper middle class White person, you're preaching to me on the basis of what? Someone you can't show, can't hear, and whose existence is unprovable?
    What's the point? Truly? Half your people are over 58 years old, you've lost over a third of them in the last 35 years and only about 4% of the US population between 18-30 belongs to ANY mainline Protestant church.
    "Irrelevant" doesn't begin to describe you.

  2. Wow Nixon...so by quoting the "only 4% of the US population between 18-30 belongs to ANY mainline Protestant church," are you indicating that you would PREFER for the right-wing evangelicals to represent Christianity? Or are you referring to the Roman Catholic Church where positions are dictated from far-away ivory towers in Rome?

    And of course we can't "show" you or let you "hear" or "prove" the existence of God or Christ. Those things can only happen when one is open to letting them happen. Clearly you are not, and therefore you cannot "see" or "hear." All we can do is TELL you what we know about God, and hope that what we share and how we share it persuades you to consider it, and THEN you can "see" and "hear."

    Part of the point of this song you are critiquing is to remind Christians (which you are not) of how Christians are supposed to live (because evangelical right-winders DO not).

    If you choose not to accept Christianity as a faith for you, that is your choice. However, you probably should not be "rooting" for groups opposed to the mainline Protestants, because THAT group is the most reasonable and sensible group out there. Cut us some slack for being willing to try to be better than we have been doing. You won't find many Baptist or Pentecostal groups that are willing to do that, I am afraid.

    As for irrelevancy, consider that Christianity, in its various forms, is still by far the largest religion on the planet. Globally, that makes it VERY relevant.