Posted by: rcottrill | November 4, 2011

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Words: John Greenleaf Whittier (b. Dec. 17, 1807; d. Sept. 7, 1892)
Music: Rest (or Maker), by Frederick Charles Maker (b. Aug. 6, 1844; d. Jan. 1, 1927)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This beautiful hymn is taken from a seventeen stanza poem by Whittier called “The Brewing of Soma.” (See the Wordwise Hymns link for a further explanation.) W. Garrett Horder selected the stanzas he believed would work as a hymn. The Cyber Hymnal gives six, of which CH-1, 2, 5 and 6 are commonly used.

There is certainly a place for joyous praise in the services of the church–though Whittier would not likely go that far. Being a Quaker, he would opt for quiet contemplation, more often than not. But, these things being said, there’s quite a difference between joyful praise, and deafening noise! There are those who insist that the thundering rock style of the world has a place in the worship of the church, but I strongly disagree, and will take a moment to climb up on my soap box.

Because of the many comments made by rockers in the media, we’re not left in any doubt as to what their intentions are, or what their underlying message is.

1) In the world, the pounding rhythms are an expression of anger and rebellion against authority. This is contrary to the Bible’s message–that we are to submit to those in authority over us (unless to do so would go against the will of God).

2) The constant syncopation is meant to represent sensual and sexual activity. The dress and actions of the performers demonstrate that this is what is being represented, immoral and perverse behaviour that God condemns.

3) The extreme loudness of the music is intended to turn the sound into an emotional experience that is felt through the entire body. The world is void of answers to man’s deepest needs. They must substitute an outwardly generated experience instead.

We want to exalt the Lord and express our desire to obey and serve Him, not shake an angry fist in His face. And we want to promote modesty, sexually purity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, not immorality. Further, we have the transforming grace of God to offer. We don’t need mechanically generated thrills. Our thrills should come from our meditation on the Word of God, and our fellowship with Him.

Thus Whittier’s point is well taken. If we are to take time to hear the “still small voice” of God, we will need to avoid the carnal bedlam to which so many seem addicted.

CH-1) Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

CH-6) Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

The line “reclothe us in our rightful mind” is an allusion to the Lord Jesus healing the demon possessed man at Gadara. The townspeople “came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (Lk. 8:35). The implication is that the repetitive noisy rantings of some contemporary “worship” approaches a demonic insanity!

1) What is your own conviction regarding the issue of extremely loud contemporary worship?

2) What kind of music best expresses the worship of your own heart?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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