Is Worship IV a Catholic Hymnal?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Is our argument right now ecumenical?

    As in a council that has authority over the whole church?
    Probably.

    Open Worship III on one knee, and Worship IV on the other knee. In Worship III you will see a few lame texts. In Worship IV you will see a lot of lame texts. That is not progress.


    I don't doubt that at all. My line of questioning (now answered!) was fully transparent- I really just wasn't sure if you had some other "thing" in mind when you talk about whether a hymnal is really Catholic.

    As a matter of fact, I can think of exactly one hymnal that satisfies your criteria. It even includes an index of the Propers.

    You have three guesses. But you can get it one.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    You think the hymnal I want is out there? Um, no.

    In the hymnal I want, every text is as Eucharistic as Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life. As devotional as Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All. As ecclesial as Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation. As poetic as Adoro Te Devote. As musical as Picardy. As Scriptural as This Joyful Eastertide.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    With caveats, the 1906.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    I only have time for some brief responses to these important questions.

    1. If the model for a Catholic hymnal for Mass is not the Liber Hymnarius, and it's not the Graduale Romanum, why not?


    The second item first. The Graduale Romanum is not the model for a Catholic hymnal because it contains only 15 hymns and 5 sequences. It's not intended to be a hymn book.

    The Liber Hymnarius is a hymn book, but it is the hymns of gthe Liturgy of the Hours.

    2. Mightn't there be a richer "thinking with the Church" among those who receive the Blessed Sacrament?


    Indeed. But does that mean we should reject, or even be leery of, John M. Neale's translation of Sancti, venite, corpus sumite (3 versions in Worship IV) because Neale never had the experience of receiving the valid sacrament? I sure don't think we need to go there at all.

    3. Are the Scriptures, the Sacraments, Jesus Christ, the Church, and other significant realities testified to by hymns seen in the same way by Catholics and other Christians?


    Honestly I think they are - by and large - by the hymn writers represented in Worship IV. I would not include most of the hymn texts of Fanny Crosby, Robert Lowry, Twila Paris, or Bill and Gloria Gaither, but perhaps some. I think Herman Stuempfle, in his texts, reveals a deeper regard for the Word of God and for the sacrament of Baptism than do most Catholic hymn writers.

    4. Are hymns a significant aspect of worship? If so, the question isn't a low-bar, "there is no heresy in them." It's a high-bar, "they are in conformity with the liturgical texts, promote a liturgical and mystical ethos, within an atmosphere of visible as well as invisible communion, with the full breadth of the perennial Catholic apostolic teaching."

    I do not ascribe to, nor do I believe any member of the Worship IV core committee - all very committed Roman Catholics - ascribes to a low-bar test either. Hymn texts have to be much more than simply "not heretical." But good texts do not all have to have the same level of theological sophistication. As to your final statement - "they are in conformity with the liturgical texts, promote a liturgical and mystical ethos, within an atmosphere of visible as well as invisible communion, with the full breadth of the perennial Catholic apostolic teaching" - for me to answer that, I think I need to hear a lot more about what you mean.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Let me put it this way. Sometimes, when St. Thomas Aquinas is arguing an important theological point, he argues on the basis of sung liturgical texts. Now if we could have a hymnal that a future St. Thomas Aquinas could really hang her/his hat on, that would be great.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Let me put it this way. Sometimes, when St. Thomas Aquinas is arguing an important theological point, he argues on the basis of sung liturgical texts. Now if we could have a hymnal that a future St. Thomas Aquinas could really hang her/his hat on, that would be great.


    A more pressing way to say the same thing might be-
    This will likely happen anyway. Do we really want people arguing doctrine based on "Gather Us In" or "Sing a New Church?"

    [EDIT: I am commenting on general PRINCIPLES here. I have no beef with W4, since I don't know it. I would not be surprised to find it contained goofy stuff, but that's only because my experience is that every hymnal contains goofy stuff.]
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Exactly.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    OK, Kathy, you wrote

    Open Worship III on one knee, and Worship IV on the other knee. In Worship III you will see a few lame texts. In Worship IV you will see a lot of lame texts.


    Now that's quite a generalization. Ken wrote something similar today. I don't think this discussion is going to lead to any greater understanding as long as we just lob generalizations at one another. So please, give examples of "lame texts" and say why you judge them as "lame."

    On Saturday I said something to the effect that you won't find any reference in Worship IV to a heaven "light years away." The reaction of several people to that comment made me wonder if there are people discussing Worship IV on this thread who do not even possess a copy? Do you, Kathy, own a copy?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Do you, Kathy, own a copy?


    No, but I've studied it. I wanted to seriously consider it for my parish, but it did not make the first cut for these exact reasons. We might have bought St. Michael. We just kept Worship III instead. I would be happy with WII or WIII. But Worship IV does not meet basic quality standards for texts, in my judgment.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Regarding lame texts, we could start with Sing a New Church. But perhaps it would be better if you would pick one of Herman Stuempfle's texts, as has been suggested before. Any one would do.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,083
    Fr. Krisman,

    Glad to see you return to this thread. You are a most competent partner in this set of questions.

    I do own a copy of WIV. I sat with it for two months examining each text. Sadly, it is not with me at the moment, but I shall return with texts in hand for the query.

    I have already allayed my comments from a theological point in terms of texts from Non-Catholic writers. I commend your response:

    I think Herman Stuempfle, in his texts, reveals a deeper regard for the Word of God and for the sacrament of Baptism than do most Catholic hymn writers
    .

    I would tend to agree.

    Perhaps the question best posed is this: are non-Catholic writers able to attend to the liturgical rites in terms of metrical hymns better than Catholic writers? Or is it that the writers of texts are looked at for their "Catholicity" and then inserted into the canon of this book.

    Again,I look at this from someone who a) lives in a part of the US where Catholics are a minority, b) identity is often shaped by who we are NOT, c) poor catechesis often has left Catholics with a very empty ecclesiology that is often not able to withstand the discussions of other ecclesial bodies. Its often a case that "lets use the music of X group because we like it" with no regard to its theological content.

    I am appreciative of the ecumenical tone of the book. However, we need profoundly Catholic writers working on our behalf. In charity, WIV leaves me lacking.

    I humbly await your response.

    Glad to see you return...

    from the bourbon lands

  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    On Saturday I said something to the effect that you won't find any reference in Worship IV to a heaven "light years away."


    836 Gather Us In

    I'm confused.

    Or has it been redacted?
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Everybody writes lame hymns, by the way. As a peace offering, here is one of mine. It clunks in spots, and it isn't really worth rescuing. It's not TERRible, but it's not what one would want. Feel free to wale (whale? wail?) away at its pitiful inadequacy.

    The eyes of all hope in the Lord.
    He gives them food in proper time.
    His open hands shall grant them more
    Than any asks or has in mind.

    He needs not storerooms full of food.
    Five loaves of bread, some fish provide
    Enough to feed a multitude
    Upon a lonely mountainside.

    The hungry eat their fill of bread:
    Five thousand people satisfied.
    And when the crowd has amply fed,
    Twelve baskets full are set aside.

    The Lord is just in all His words;
    Compassionate in all His deeds.
    The Lord's almighty hand supports
    The fainting heart, the trembling knee.

    And so let faithful Christians plead
    An end to hungers great and small.
    The One who knows their ev'ry need
    Will not refuse to give them all.

    And may our hearts be purified
    In His great Eucharistic feast
    To trust in Him whose care abides:
    Our Sacrament, our Life, our Priest.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    Not terrible. Very mouthy.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Terrible. As many off-rhymes as perfect. Boringish.
  • MHIMHI
    Posts: 324
    .
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    836 Gather Us In
    I'm confused.
    Or has it been redacted?


    Adam, are you looking at the text? If so, where do you find any reference to "light years away"?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Fr. Krisman,

    The indexes, and some sample pages, are available online.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Stuempfle's Emmaus text, Who Are You Who Walk In Sorrow, is available online. We could talk about that if you'd like.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    On Saturday I said something to the effect that you won't find any reference in Worship IV to a heaven "light years away." The reaction of several people to that comment made me wonder if there are people discussing Worship IV on this thread who do not even possess a copy? Do you, Kathy, own a copy?

    Since that was an answer to my comment, I should say that I mentioned that line merely by way of illustrating the kind of text "which, although [it] can be interpreted in a way that does not make [it] outright heretical," and not as a specific criticism of W4 (of which I have seen, but don't own, a copy). I'm glad to know that that verse of Gather Us In was omitted in W4. Your previous remarks implied that the Archdiocese had specifically objected. ("It's not a perfect system when the Archdiocese of Chicago says something may NOT be included, while the exact same thing appears in an OCP missalette! There is no "heaven light-years away" in Worship IV, only in Breaking Bread.) Is that true? Was an actual ruling made on this particular text?

    As far as lame texts go, I fear one does not have to look too hard. I'll throw out one example, from Show Me Your Hands, Your Feet, Your Side by Sylvia Dunstan. Stanzas 1-3 boringly recap the story of Doubting Thomas, creating confusion as they flip back and forth from having the congregation sing the words of Thomas to those of Jesus, and then a summary stanza, without any quotation marks. Then stanza 4:

    So blessed are those who have not seen
    Yet cry, "My Lord and God!"
    Who touch earth's pain in Jesus' name
    And tell good news abroad.

    One can object to beginning the stanza with "so" used in the sense of "well now, ahem," rather than "in this amount," but let's move on to "who touch earth's pain." I read this and said, "Wow, that has '1993' written all over it." Close, it was 1991. But really, could it have been written at any moment in history other than the Clinton administration?

    What is "earth's pain," anyway? If it had said "the world's pain," I could have stretched to imagine that it meant the pain of the people in the world, but with the word "earth" I can only interpret it as actually talking about the terrestrial orb itself. Then is this a stanza about environmentalism? Is it about a sort of Gaea theory, where "earth" stands as a synecdoche for a unified, interconnected life-field? Either way, what place has it at all in telling the story of Jesus and Thomas? And how could a person touch earth's pain "in Jesus' name"; what does that even mean? Certainly Thomas did not touch Jesus' side in Jesus' name, so what has happened to the comparison presupposed in this stanza (implied, I suppose, by the initial "so")?

    Lastly, I would just point out that the phrase "tell good news abroad" involves the genericization of something concrete: the Good News of the Lord, the Gospel, the evangelion. That's unfortunate. But no, really -- "earth's pain"?
    Thanked by 2MHI Gavin
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Perhaps all us others on the forum might give Fr. Krisman some time, since we've asked him a number of questions in a row.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    The indexes, and some sample pages, are available online.


    Kathy, I guess this means that Adam does not have a copy. Well, in all four of the new GIA hymnals (G3, W4, LMGM2, OC/WPiS), the former stanza 4 is gone. The Archdiocese of Chicago carefully scrutinized the four-stanza text submitted to it when G3, the first hymnal to be published, was submitted to the archdiocese for ecclesiastical approval, and it (the archdiocese) asked GIA to remove the fourth stanza.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood irishtenor
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Indeed. But does that mean we should reject, or even be leery of, John M. Neale's translation of Sancti, venite, corpus sumite (3 versions in Worship IV) because Neale never had the experience of receiving the valid sacrament? I sure don't think we need to go there at all.
    . . .
    Honestly I think they are - by and large - by the hymn writers represented in Worship IV. I would not include most of the hymn texts of Fanny Crosby, Robert Lowry, Twila Paris, or Bill and Gloria Gaither, but perhaps some. I think Herman Stuempfle, in his texts, reveals a deeper regard for the Word of God and for the sacrament of Baptism than do most Catholic hymn writers.

    Incidentally, I agree with all this. I don't think it makes a whit of difference whether a hymn was written by a Catholic, a Protestant, a computer algorithm, or a monkey chained to a typewriter. Frankly, they ought to be evaluated as submissions to most major journals are: blindly.

    I make an exception for A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, which, despite being a wonderful hymn, is essentially a gonfalon of the Reformation, and it is unseemly for us to sing it. There may be other like cases, but not many. Jerusalem, possibly.
    Thanked by 1marajoy
  • MHIMHI
    Posts: 324
    .
  • Bobby Bolin
    Posts: 373
    I don't have the exact quote off hand. Someone earlier in this thread mentioned the fact that the hymns are just retelling the story of the gospel set to music. I think this hymnal would be a ton better (I don't really hate it) if they included hymns such as "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor" (which was originally supposed to make it in the hymnal but seemed to have been cut to make room for the newer stuff) rather than a bunch of modern texts that seem very generic.

    The psalter and ordinary of mass are not that bad. I think GIA picked the best they had to offer for those. I think the inclusion of some of the Proulx chant settings and the new Mass of St. Ignatius would really have helped the hymnal.

    I agree that the selection of hymns is poor and the inclusive language is awkward and unneeded but much of the other songs, antiphons, psalms, mass parts included are well selected.

    Also, glad to see v. 4 from "Gather Us In" is gone. This is a hymn (or song, whatever) that has received a lot of scrutiny but is really not that bad. Haugen and Haas always get thrown together but some of Haugen's stuff is actually pretty good. Most of Haas' isn't.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,848
    I don't have Worship IV, but Worship III has "Gather Us In" (#665) with the problematic lyric (v.4):

    "Not in the dark of buildings confining,
    not in some heaven, light-years away,
    here in this place, the new light is shining,
    Now is the Kingdom, now is the day."


    Isn't this a classic mistake: to say "not A but B", "not this but that" -- when the truth held by the Church is "both A and B", "both this and that"? And the dismissive language used about "heaven light-years away" -- deriding the concept as if heaven were thought to be located within the material universe -- is really offensive to me.

    For some commentary on the lyric, including some of Haugen's thinking in writing it, here's an excerpt from our friend Prof. Ed Schaefer's book "Catholic Music Through the Ages" (LTP):
    542 x 610 - 180K
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Chonak, I would imagine this is why the Archdiocese of Chicago removed the verse for the current editions.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    Below is the Sylvia Dunstan text to which Mark Thompson refers. It is no. 679 in W4, under the "faith" section, but also selected as one of two possible "hymns of the day" - the other being Alford's "We Walk by Faith" - for the Second Sunday of Easter A, B, C.

    Show me your hands, your feet, your side;
    I will not be deceived.
    Unless I see, how can I trust
    The news that I’ve received?

    “Fear not! Let peace be in your soul.
    Reach out and touch and know
    I died and yet I am alive
    With wounds that ever show.”

    Not even Easter takes away
    The marks that Jesus bears.
    The risen Christ still wears the wounds
    Of scourge and nail and spear.

    So blessed are those who have not seen
    Yet cry, "My Lord and God!"
    Who touch earth's pain in Jesus' name
    And tell good news abroad.

    Text: Sylvia G. Dunstan, 1955-1993, © 1991, GIA Publications, Inc.
    All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of GIA Publications.
    Tune: LAND OF REST


    And yes, as Kathy already mentioned, I do have another life. I haven't eaten since breakfast, and I need to take some time out for prayer for the folks in Oklahoma. Hasta mañana.
  • Is the "Gather us in" removal of verse four an example of the archdiocese committee changing its criteria?

    Was it perhaps in response to complaints?

    I think it's a good development. It goes to show that things can be reconsidered.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    Chonak, I would imagine this is why the Archdiocese of Chicago removed the verse for the current editions.


    Kathy, perhaps it's best not to speculate. Prudence demands that I say no more.

    The approval process worked very smoothly, BTW.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    Is the "Gather us in" removal of verse four an example of the archdiocese committee changing its criteria?


    MaryAnn, I'm not sure I understand your question. Could you say more about what you mean?

    As to complaints, there would be not way that GIA would know of complaints sent to the Archdiocese.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Below is the Sylvia Dunstan text to which Mark Thompson refers.

    Thanks for reprinting the whole text, Father. It's intriguing that you include quotation marks around the second verse; I was going by the "Sample Pages" on GIA's website (p. 14 of this pdf), where those are not present.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    I hope no one minds if I start a new thread to discuss the hymn.

    ***

    Something I've raised several times is the body of office hymns, as the model for Catholic hymnody. Fr. Krisman has several times responded that the office hymns are for the Liturgy of the Hours. And this makes a kind of sense. The office hymns were written for, well, the office.

    If we as Catholics had rich selection of Latin hymns from Mass, dating back to the great "hymn explosions" of the 6th and 10th centuries, it would make sense to cull from them. However, there is no such extensive history of liturgical hymns from the Mass from those times. That is because we did not sing hymns at Mass in those times (which some of our number call "the good old days), at least not like we do now.

    If we did, what would we have sung? If Latin vernacular hymnody suddenly became the "in" thing to sing at Mass in 650 or 1120, where would we shop for these hymns? Wouldn't we probably have done like the Liturgy of the Hours did in the last translation, and simply borrow from our own books? Ok, we need vernacular hymns, and we've got some good ones, so let's use them!

    Obviously it's not a straight cross-over. You can't just pick up your ancient scroll version 1.0 of t he Liber Hymnarius and pick out hymn #727 and start singing. You would need someone to make sure that particular hymn crossed over well from one liturgical expression to the other. You would need a hymnal text editor.

    Well, that didn't happen. But fast forward 1350 years and, remarkably, people are still singing those same songs! Unbelievable! And they are published! In something called a "book!" These songs probably have something on the ball. Not only were a good number of them written by saints, but they have all stood the test of time. They express our Catholic faith and we can really depend upon them. They're not like your modern, here-today-gone-tomorrow hymns. They have the poetic strength and theological vigor to stand the test of centuries! Monks love 'em!

    Somehow, I don't find "they belong to the Liturgy of the Hours" to be a compelling reason to avoid this entire treasure chest of riches that arose from our own Communion.



  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Father Krisman,
    I think it's well established that your support of W4 as a viable "hymnal," if not the standard now, but to be for a term, remains.
    What I, all along, was hoping for, was a personal expression from you of what an ideal Catholic worship book would contain as necessary constituent elements for the 9 decades remaining in this century? Can you address that without betraying prudence?
    Sincerely,
    Charlie
    Thanked by 1francis
  • jpal
    Posts: 365
    [Given the rate at which comments are added to this thread, sorry if this is completely irrelevant by the time it posts]

    For what it's worth, I have been thinking about Kathy's idea that the Liber Hymnarius should be the model for Catholic hymnals, and I recalled an interesting reference to the LH in Sing to the Lord. It is the only place I know of where a church document says the LH should in any way be a model for liturgical pieces not included in itself:

    80. Whenever strophic chant hymns are published with Latin or vernacular texts, their melodies should be drawn from the Liber Hymnarius.


    The context is clearly a discussion of Latin chant in the Eucharistic liturgy. Of course it is talking solely about chant hymns, but the interesting thing (to me anyway) is that ANY strophic chant hymn, regardless of the text or the language, should be musically rooted in the LH. Regardless of whether this guideline is reasonable or feasible, the principle might go to Kathy's point.
    jon
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    80. Whenever strophic chant hymns are published with Latin or vernacular texts, their melodies should be drawn from the Liber Hymnarius.


    I think what this is referring to is the following: when there are variants in the notation of strophic chant hymn tunes, for instance, whether the fifth note of the tune CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM should be a SOL or a LA, Sing to the Lord is saying that the notation found in the Liber Hymnarius should be used.
    Thanked by 2Gavin jpal
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    I think it's well established that your support of W4 as a viable "hymnal," if not the standard now, but to be for a term, remains.
    What I, all along, was hoping for, was a personal expression from you of what an ideal Catholic worship book would contain as necessary constituent elements for the 9 decades remaining in this century? Can you address that without betraying prudence?


    Charles, it's very hard to predict what may happen in the next five years, much less in the next 90! But here goes my crystal ball gazing.

    I hope the recent efforts to get priests and assemblies to chant the Mass work this time around. Some of my friends tell me that, nationally, they don't see much change in practice. I hope they're wrong.

    Over the course of this century I hope that the members of the Church grow in their appreciation of and desire to maintain the Church's treasury of liturgical music in all its richness. I expect that the music used in Catholic worship will continue to be rather eclectic in style. That's OK by me as long as the striving for excellence become more deeply rooted in our Church musical culture.

    I imagine a balanced diet of music for worship which makes room for hymns ancient and modern with texts old and new, office hymns, chant, lots of psalm settings in various styles, and world music.

    I imagine that, halfway through this century, more of Catholic worship in the USA will be conducted in Spanish than in English. I don't expect to be around to see this, but that demographic change will prove to be much more important for Catholic liturgy than our personal preferences about liturgical music.

    So what is going to be the "ideal Catholic worship book" in the year 2100? If we still have something equivalent to "books" at that time, it will probably look more like Oramos Cantando / We Pray in Song than Worship IV, containing even more treasures from the Church's past, more plainsong ritual music, perhaps even more Latin than today, and as much Spanish as English.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,335
    I think this hymnal would be a ton better (I don't really hate it) if they included hymns such as "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor" (which was originally supposed to make it in the hymnal but seemed to have been cut to make room for the newer stuff) rather than a bunch of modern texts that seem very generic.


    Bobby, yes, at the last meeting of the core committee (Feb. 2011) we were far enough along with the hymnal engravings that we knew everything we had chosen would not fit. We ended up having to drop about thirty items. We had to choose between Van Dyke's "Jesus, Our Divine Companion" and Dearmer's "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor," especially for use at Mass on Labor Day. We chose the Van Dyke. (The Dearmer text is really hard to grasp. I think there was some sympathy for it more because of the tune than the text. We did "rescue" the DOMHNACH TRIONOIDE tune and reassigned it to another text.)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    I guess for the first time I noticed that there is a second Dearmer, Geoffrey, who apparently is the son of Percy Dearmer of Draw Us In the Spirit's Tether et al. Interesting.

    What has interested me in this discussion how it has revealed the principles at work in the final judgments made by the text committee. On what basis was the Dearmer text rejected? Because it was "hard to grasp."

    Is it really? Ok, it does some interesting things with word order, and the third verse is somewhat demanding, but is there any basically educated person who couldn't easily follow this?

    Those who love and those who labour, follow in the way of Christ;
    Thus the first disciples found him, thus the gift of love sufficed.
    Jesus says to those who seek him, I will never pass you by;
    Raise the stone and you shall find me; cleave the wood, and there am I.

    Where the many work together, they with Christ himself abide.
    But the lonely workers also find him ever at their side.
    Lo, the Prince of common welfare dwells within the market strife;
    Lo, the bread of heaven is broken in the sacrament of life.


    It seems to me that there are reasons to reject this hymn (it seems dated to the industrial revolution and what followed, and the use of the word "sacrament" here could be somewhat misleading), but is accessibility really one of them? I think not.

    Verse 3 is more demanding. (But isn't that ok? Hasn't everyone learned to drive, to fill out a Fafsa, to photoshop, to facebook? We're not lacking in aquisitional skills in our age.) If I read it correctly, Dearmer has done something very interesting. He has kind of conflated the seeking of the Wise Men with the seeking of heaven, something TS Eliot did in his Journey of the Magi, and William Dix did in his As With Gladness.

    Let the seeker never falter, till the truth is found afar.
    With the wisdom of the ages underneath a giant star,
    With the richest and the poorest, of the sum of things possessed,
    Like a child at first to wonder, like a king at last to rest.


    I'm not crazy about the word "giant" here, although it does resonate with the classic Christmas reference Psalm 19:5 (See St. Ambrose's Veni Redemptor Omnium/ Savior of the Nations, Come). But otherwise the composition of the text cannot be faulted. It is quite pleasing to sing. It doesn't yield all its secrets immediately, but it gives access to something from the first reading, the first singing. True works of art are like that. There is something more to discover next time.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Not to "pile on" and criticize, because I know that decisions had to be made, and that's ok ... but ... I've always loved "Those Who Love and Those Who Labor" and have always found the poetry exquisite.

    With that said, I do appreciate "Jesus Our Divine Companion" and have found it to be the perfect text for labor day.

    Our parish uses Worship IV and overall I'm quite happy with it - although we also print music in the bulletin, so I tend to use the most well known and sturdy hymns and service music from Worship and augment them with propers, chants, and other metrical hymns not found in it.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Is it really? Ok, it does some interesting things with word order, and the third verse is somewhat demanding, but is there any basically educated person who couldn't easily follow this?

    Hmm, I confess I find the text pretty obscure. Let's just look at the first verse:

    Those who love and those who labour, follow in the way of Christ;
    Thus the first disciples found him, thus the gift of love sufficed.
    Jesus says to those who seek him, I will never pass you by;
    Raise the stone and you shall find me; cleave the wood, and there am I.

    In the first line, is "follow" indicative or subjunctive? Is this line a description of what "those who love and those who labor" do, or is it an injunction to them to do it? It's completely ambiguous grammatically.

    The second line is a puzzle as well. "Thus" means "in this manner, in this way," but is the contention then supposed to be that the first disciples found Christ by following Christ? I'd think you gotta find him first; and more to the point, in the Gospels it is Christ himself who finds many of the disciples, calling them away from their labor. As to what "the gift of love" is, or for what exactly it "suffice[s]," anybody's guess is as good as mine.

    The third line is okay, I suppose, with the stipulation that I don't generally like putting fake quotations in the mouth of Christ.

    Then the fourth line: shouldn't that be "roll the stone?" Or is this not an Easter reference at all? I don't remember any wood getting cleaved on Easter, so maybe it isn't; but it sure sounds like it was trying to be. Or is the idea that we should "leave no stone unturned" in our search for Christ? That can't be right, that's trite. Or are stone-raising and wood-cleaving examples of the "labor" in which we find Christ? Cleaving wood is more of a chore than a labor, though, and I can't say I've ever heard of anybody described as a "stone-raiser." So what's going on here?
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    I take it back. Every educated person, except Mark, can easily read verses 1 and 2.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,307
    I have decided to never attempt to figure out what other people can or can't understand. This is after reading a year's worth of complaints about the Collects in the new Roman Missal, wherein they were described as being obscure, confusing, hard to pray, and so forth, to which I thought, almost every time, "What? Really?"

    (With a few specific exceptions, I find them exceedingly prayerful and transparent... but then I couldn't understand a word of the Iliad until I found Pope's version, and I find the KJV Old Testament much easier to understand than the modern translations I grew up with.)
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Agreed! I've never understood those complaints about confusing collects. Are they 1st grade english? No. Are they particularly difficult to understand for the average adult? I really don't think so.

    I@@ think those complaining simply like the simplicity of the "God, you are big, and do lots of big things, help us love you" style collects, will complain and "not understand" anything else.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,054
    Not to be sensitive, but if you look back at Mark's responses to me or MaryAnn, he doesn't agree with either of us about anything. It's strange. He doesn't argue with anyone else point by point, to my knowledge. Not sure if she and I have anything in common that might make some people not take us seriously no matter what. Hmmmm....
  • I recall some of our Worship IV core committee’s discussion of the text, “Those Who Love and Those Who Labor.” One of my concerns was the use of the word “welfare” in the second stanza. In a hymn referencing labor and workers, I wondered whether some might see this as a kind of political statement, given some people’s strong feelings about the welfare system in our country. (I could just imagine a parishioner asking me after Mass, “Did that hymn say that Jesus was on Welfare?”) Please note that I’m not saying this was Dearmer’s intent. Of course it wasn’t. But perhaps the word "welfare" in this text might provoke reactions.

    Kathy, you raise some interesting points about this hymn text. I appreciate the connections you make with other hymns and literature. And bravo to the following statement that you made:
    It doesn't yield all its secrets immediately, but it gives access to something from the first reading, the first singing. True works of art are like that. There is something more to discover next time.
    But I’d like to raise a related issue that I occasionally wonder about: Can a hymn text sometimes be too poetic, in a sense? In other words, how immediately should a text be understood by the congregation? Can a hymn text have so many obscure references that it becomes unintelligible or confusing to the people in the pews, although it still might be considered a work of art on the academic level? Please note that I’m not proposing that hymn texts should be “dumbed down” to the lowest common denominator. We already have too many of those kinds of texts. I’m all in favor of hymns as works of art.

    If we sing “Those Who Love and Those Who Labor” as the closing hymn in my parish on Labor Day, I’m sure that most (if not all) pew folks will simply close the hymnal at the conclusion of the hymn, and not continue studying the text to ponder its deeper meaning. And chances are that they wouldn’t even see the text again until next Labor Day, unlike their contemplation of a work of art at a museum or the thoughtful analysis of a poem in a book of poetry. Of course, that’s not an excuse for banal hymn texts. So, I’m just raising some questions.

    (On a different note… in response to a question you raised earlier. Yes, I have seen your metrical Advent introits, as well as a number of your other hymn texts. In general, I’m very impressed with your work. Keep on writing!)
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Not to be sensitive, but if you look back at Mark's responses to me or MaryAnn, he doesn't agree with either of us about anything. It's strange. He doesn't argue with anyone else point by point, to my knowledge. Not sure if she and I have anything in common that might make some people not take us seriously no matter what. Hmmmm....

    What year is this, 1995? You're playing the gender card, for real? I must have really struck a nerve, maybe about something in your past. If so, I apologize.
  • Heath
    Posts: 831
    Fr. Chepponis makes a good point . . . I would think that 99 percent of people in the pews don't "study" hymn texts the way that we do. They'll sing GOTT VATER SEI GEPRIESEN this weekend, enjoy it, put their hymnal down and head off to their Memorial Day cookout. It's the rare bird that will pause over a hymn and say, "ooh, I love that turn of phrase that Wesley used in verse four!"

    And so I like Kathy's point in theory, but practically, I don't think hymn texts that are too obscure are very beneficial to a congregation. I guess the balance between accessible and profound is different for everyone.

    Along those same lines, I think we're fooling ourselves if we think that some of the newly-translated aren't hard to grasp. Overall, I love the new translations and think they're a vast improvement . . . but occasionally, I'll hear a collect and think, "Whoa, did that just happen?" (Sorry, this is off-topic)
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • But I’d like to raise a related issue that I occasionally wonder about: Can a hymn text sometimes be too poetic, in a sense? In other words, how immediately should a text be understood by the congregation?

    Back in the days when I was director of music in an Episcopal Church, I tried to introduce the hymn "By Gracious Powers," F. Pratt Green's adaption of a Bonhoeffer text paired with the tune Intercessor by C.H.H. Parry (#695 in The Hymnal 1982). Though everything seemed right about this hymn, it never caught on. I think this is a case where perhaps too much is asked of the congregation. The text requires serious reflection and the tune only grows on you with repeated hearings.

    If Episcopalians were reluctant, you can imagine the resistance from the Catholic community if I were to program such a hymn.