Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The New Doxology
Did you belong to a church where they sang the Common Doxology? For Catholics, it always came at the end, a good-bye song after the Mass -- a tune that, to my ear, sounds like the turning of a key in a lock, a ritual tune for passing from "sacred space" into everyday life. Do you remember the brief tune to the traditional words? "Praise God from whom all blessings flow;/Praise God, all creatures here below;/Praise God for all that love has done;/Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One." [In the Catholic church, the last line was "Father and Son and Holy Ghost."] A final "Amen" won't hurt. You might try singing the following words to that old tune (rewritten because I dream of the age when all churches or temples are temples to humanism and the health of the earth).
As I wandered on warm summer nights in my old Indiana small town, I would hear, from its many, plain Christian churches, the old church tunes. Singing them, with the rhythm of a lullaby, or hammock slowly rocking, surely must have brought a peaceful mood to their congregations. Some may want to rewrite the words of their favorite hymns. Others have written variants of the traditional wording for the Doxology tune. Curtis W. Reese’s version also avoids Deism, using an 18th century paraphrase by Isaac Watts of Psalm 117:
From all that dwell below the skies
Let songs of hope and faith arise;
Let peace, goodwill on earth be sung
Through every land, by every tongue.