Sunday 18 December 2011

We hang our heads in shame and guilt

A hymn by Kim Fabricius
(Tune: Mit Freuden zart)

We hang our heads in shame and guilt
for ruthless exploitation:
we heat the earth and watch it wilt
for capital and nation.
In pitiless pursuit of oil
we poison air and sea and soil –
the lords of de-creation.

“Have mercy on us, Lord!” we plead,
but is it false confession?
We mask misdeeds, we gild our greed,
as peace we spin aggression.
We’re skilful at the apt excuse,
and the dark arts of word-abuse –
the truth is in recession.

O God, this is our world of vice,
come, judge us, test us, try us;
though we deny you, Jesus Christ,
Deliverer, don’t deny us;
break down the selves in which we hide,
evict our vanity and pride –
O Spirit, occupy us!


guest said...

oh, boo hoo

Petter said...

Well done. Great hymn!

Carl Gregg said...

Love it. Thanks for sharing.

Highanddry said...

I got chills.

Roger Flyer said...

I bow before the hymn.

Mike E said...

Ideology generally doesn't make for good poetry...I think I'd feel pretty depressed singing hymns like this!

Mike E

tortoise said...

Ideology generally doesn't make for good poetry...

That's a startling assertion, Mike. Isn't every poet an ideologue?

And certainly for the Church, isn't every psalm of lament an occasion to acknowledge divine judgment and grace, every hymn an invitation to join oneself to the ideology of the Kingdom of God?

Or were you thinking of something else... "personally disagreeable ideology", perhaps?

Mike E said...

Dear Tortoise,

Yes, I take your point re every poet being an idealogue, perhaps I should have qualified it by saying 'partisan political ideology'. When it feels (as it does to me) like the hymn is really a vehicle for a particular political message, it's hard to feel moved by it. There's no space for catharsis, I'm being hit over the head by it! It seems to me great hymn writing/poetry can have political implications, sometimes powerfully so, without such contrivance, surely this is the trick is it not?? Is not the Magnificat a perfect example? It speaks of the lifting up of the humble and the throwing down of rulers, yet with such delicacy and poise, it actually stirs your heart and mind rather than drop a tonne of bricks on your head.

To me, that is what great poetry/hymn writing does!

Cheers my friend!


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