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Monday, 10 March 2008

Why don't we sing...?

I will never amount to much, for the same reason that in school my research papers never amounted to much.
I am too easily distracted, and too willing to wander off on tangents. Where I was once the thrall of the siren Card Catalogue, now my seducer is the Internet, or the Dubyadubyadubyas, (as someone I know calls it,) insinuating, whispering, Com'on out an' play...
So, in trying to understand preveniant grace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevenient_Grace) I come across the name of a hymn text of which I have never heard.
Hmmm, Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast.... so, look it up on Cyberhymnal http://www.cyberhymnal.org/
Why, what do they mean, HURSLEY, it sounds almost precisely like GROSSER GOTT!
So, I wonder if the tune is like SICILIAN MARINERS, do Protestants call it by one name so as to lessen the Papist taint?
And I wonder if HURSLEY can be found in any Catholic hymnal and in following that string through the labyrinth, I end up reading this:
"I am not worried about the continuing presence of hymnody at Catholic masses. I suggested that we should be more aware of the historic traditions of Protestant hymnody - I mean, why have I sung [a piece of trite tripe by a much excoriated songsmith on whom I do not wish to pile on at this time, although I'm more than interested in the normal course of things...] numerous times in Catholic churches, but never Charles Wesley’s excellent 'Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast'?"
It is from a site to which I do not care to link, the sanctimony of the main blogger gives me heartburn -- too bad, because I love the blogger whom I have quoted here, as well as some of the regular commentators.
But this is an interesting question.
Judging from a very (so far) perfunctory search, one answer is obvious - the major publishers did not see fit to include it in any Catholic hymnals.
Look, I do not really think that the Oregonian and Illinwiffic branches of the liturgical-industrial complex are Gog and Magog, or the living embodiment of all that is evil and unholy in the universe, or the universe of publishing... (okay, I may have said a few things that indicated I thought that.)
But who else would be to blame for this? OK, them and our conference of bishops.
What are the chances of the average parish musician looking beyond, being capable of looking beyond, knowing he is ABLE to look beyond, being allowed by his boss or bossette to look beyond, the fare provided by the hymnal or missallette in his parishes pew and loft?
And someone made the choices of what to print in said resources.
Well, we haven't come within spitting distance of a national hymnal, which the bishops could have, perhaps should have done.
And the publishers, (and their flunky .... sorry, that is a more pejorative word than I wish to use, but I can't think of another... musicians' association,) have more interest in promoting music on which they can own the copyrights than in letting musicians who have been thrown in to the deep end know that there is centuries of glorious music out there.

Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast;Let every soul be Jesus’ guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,For God hath bid all humankind.

Sent by my Lord, on you I call;The invitation is to all.
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!All things in Christ are ready now.

Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,Ye restless wanderers after rest;
Ye poor, and maimed, and sick, and blind,In Christ a hearty welcome find.

Come, and partake the Gospel feast;Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!

You vagrant souls, on you I call;(O that my voice could reach you all!)
You all may now be justified,You all may live, for Christ hath died.

My message as from God receive;Ye all may come to Christ and live.
O let His love your hearts constrain,Nor permit Him to die in vain.

His love is mighty to compel;His conquering love consent to feel,
Yield to His love’s resistless power,And fight against your God no more.

See Him set forth before your eyes,That precious, bleeding Sacrifice!
His offered benefits embrace,And freely now be saved by grace.

This is the time, no more delay!This is the Lord’s accepted day.
Come thou, this moment, at His call,And live for Him Who died for all.

The following stanzas are commonly omitted:

Jesus to you His fullness brings,A feast of marrow and fat things.
Do not begin to make excuse,Ah! do not you His grace refuse.

Your grounds forsake, your oxen quit,Your every earthly thought forget,
Seek not the comforts of this life,Nor sell your Savior for a wife.

“Have me excused,” why will ye say?Why will ye for damnation pray?
Have you excused—from joy and peace!Have you excused—from happiness:

Excused from coming to a feast!Excused from being Jesus’ guest!
From knowing now your sins forgiven,From tasting here the joys of Heaven.

Excused, alas! why should you beFrom health, and life, and liberty,
From entering into glorious rest,From leaning on your Savior’s breast?

Sinners my gracious Lord receives,Harlots, and publicans, and thieves;
Drunkards, and all ye hellish crew,I have a message now to you.

The worst unto My supper press,Monsters of daring wickedness,
Tell them My grace for all is free.They cannot be too bad for Me.


Sir Monocle said...

Believe it or not, there are more hymn choices out there then ever before. And they're not all bad. Our AGO chapter did a workshop on this very topic last fall. Some good hymnals include "Voices Found" - hymns written by women, and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" - Spirituals. There are also many good things put out by Selah Publishing. At my place (everybody sings... in parts!!), we have a bulletin printed every Sunday with most of the service music and hymns type-set right into them. That is really nice, because then, if I so desired to use hymns beyond the Episcopal 1982 book, I can. OneLicence.net makes it all pretty easy. After playing for 15 years in Roman Catholic churches, I really got tired of those "hymns". GIA is the best, I suppose. But, being tied to a Missalette is a real problem.

Scelata said...

Yes, isn't Selah wonderful?
I should put a link to it on my sidebar.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)