Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Neo-Hymnody of Brian Wren-Part One

When love is found and hope comes home

Sing and be glad that two are one.

When love explodes and fills the sky

Praise God and share our maker's joy.

When love had flow'red in trust and care

Build both each day that love may dare

To reach beyond home's warmth and light

To serve and strive for truth and right.

When love is tried as loved ones change

Hold still to hope though all seems strange

'Til ease returns and love grows wise

Through listening ears and opened eyes.

When love is torn and trust betrayed

Pray strength to love 'til torments fade

'Til lovers keep no score of wrong

But hear through pain love's Easter song.

Praise God for love, Praise God for life

In age or youth, in husband's wife.

Lift up your hearts, let love be fed

Through life and death in broken bread.

(Brian Wren, copyrighted Hope Publishing)

This last Sunday’s OT and Gospel Scriptures quite thoroughly articulate the Christological ethos that defines the sacrament of marriage. In the last few weeks there’ve been a number of cumulative events that Wendy and I have shared that made hearing the readings three times over the weekend and even more intensified joy to us as we approach our fourth decade together.

I first took notice of the texts of Brian Wren in the ‘70’s. No specific recollection of how, save for a vague sense it was attached to my enchantment with all musics Celtic, and I perhaps made an association with Wren’s “When love is found” via its clever linking to “O waly waly.” And, of course as wedding stipends were a precious commodity in that point of our family economy, “selling” this hymn was a far improved cry from the current faire of Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer Than,” Ken Loggins’ “Run, River, Run,” or the ever ubiquitous John Denver “Annie’s Song.” We had pretty much employed the song using the first two and last verses only for weddings. But for congregational use at Masses such as 27 Ordinary B, or theme-attached sermons as a hymn of the day, I’ve often pondered the reception, comprehension, assimilation and “buy in” by congregants when invited to join in singing this text.

I’m speaking particularly to whether the situational depictions of verses three and four represent universally acknowledged “snapshots” common to the experiential trajectories of all or even most marriages? Sure, one could allow that most marriages, or any serious relationships for that matter, undergo great periods of stress, change and reformation. It is also obvious that the trial of betrayal and the torment that results is likely more common to all than not. And it is true that Christ only offers a sure path to recovery and wholeness. But, are these the sorts of “intimate” encounters that need to attend the final conclusion that life praising God and sharing faith as a salve that should be found and expressed communally in our hymnody? What’s your take?

1 comment:

Todd Flowerday said...

We used all five verses at our wedding.