Sunday 4 July 2010

Who are we called to be?

A hymn by Kim Fabricius
(Tune: Moscow)

Who are we called to be?
The Father’s family –
greatest is least.
Sisters and brothers, pray
for bread and peace today,
and for the poor that they
share in the feast.

Who are we called to be?
The Son’s community –
song, salt and light.
Become what Christ became,
witness to Yahweh’s reign,
go set the world aflame –
God’s dynamite!

Who are we called to be?
The Spirit’s colony –
exiles and clowns.
Live as the dispossessed,
free of the fear of death,
heal hate with tenderness –
world upside-down!


Richard Hall said...

A fine hymn.

I'm not comfortable with the use of Yahweh in the 2nd verse, though.

Anonymous said...


Pablo said...

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to...

Anonymous said...

i like the little autonomist stylee in the last verse. it's like a hymn version of Hardt and Negri's Multitude.

John Hartley said...

Dear Kim,

Very good, I like it a lot. Good Trinitarian structure, enough newness of phraseology to prompt new pathways of thought as one is singing it, and a few Fabricius-style hallmark phrases (like the "exiles and clowns") to remind us who wrote it. Well done.

I'm not quite so sure that "Moscow" is the best tune, mainly because the tune demands a downbeat to start the second line, whereas the stress in your second line (all three verses) comes on the second syllable. "Milton Abbas" fits the start of the second line better - but "Milton Abbas" fails on the start of the third line. In a way, "National Anthem" would be better as the lines don't emphasise particular syllables too much - but "National Anthem" has another connotation which is too strong. And you wouldn't want an entirely new tune, for that would just make it harder for a congregation to join in. What a conundrum!

Nevertheless, well done and keep writing!

Yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

kim fabricius said...

Hi John,

Thanks, as ever, for your expert comments, particularly about the tune, which is my weak spot (or rather my weakest spot) in hymn writing. I have two friends who act as musical consultants. I now consider you a third! Worship Live, which has published most of my hymns, always invites subscribers to submit new tunes to the texts (and several have done so). Please, if you ever feel like it, have a go.

John Hartley said...

Dear Kim,

This is hardly the place for a tangent like this, but ...

Tune-writers are in a rather difficult position with the phrase "invited to submit a new tune", because what it means is that if I write a tune then the author of the words has the right to allow the tune to be coupled with his/her words - or not. And if s/he does not consent, the tune-writer is then left with a tune which cannot be used. You have never behaved like that to me (for instance when I wrote one to "Lord behold a wretched sinner" for you), but others have, and I have quite a few tunes which are now on the shelf because I cannot publicise the words they are intended for. My experiences with Worship Live haven't always been positive in this respect.

I'm not saying this is always a disaster, and in fact one of my most successful hymns originally started as a tune to someone else's words which he declined to accept, and then I had to knuckle down and write some words of my own to it. God has a way of bringing good out of adverse situations.

Every blessing, yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

dave said...

"God's dynamite!"...oh dear: In 1888 Alfred Nobel’s brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred's obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite and is said to have brought about his decision to leave a better legacy after his death. The obituary stated Le marchand de la mort est mort ("The merchant of death is dead") and went on to say, "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament and set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes.

Ben Myers said...

Chris, I don't think Kim will need any convincing on this point. I refer you to his (numerous) posts on peace, non-violence, and pacifism.

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