All posts filed under: hymns

Why Community Needs Music

I recently wrote a piece for Humane Pursuits, in answer to their call for posts on community. I’m persistently, unceasingly thankful for our church community at Christ the King. And, I think some of the reason that we have grown to be who we are is because of our musical culture (mostly thanks to our priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara): At my husband’s big 30th birthday party, we sang the Doxology before eating, like we normally do in our church community. Later, a musical friend, dependable for understatements, dryly observed: “I like how we just sang the best rendition of the Doxology in the the greater Ohio area and it wasn’t any big deal.” We sing together a lot — not because our congregation is composed of vocalists; we’re actually extremely average. Instead, our church has slowly grown a musical culture because of our priest, who insists that the “congregation is the choir” (we are high church Anglican; so, for example, our “sung service” includes a lot of chanting and difficult hymns without time signatures). To make …

O God of Earth and Altar

During this election cycle, I have been thinking of a hymn we sing frequently: “O God of Earth and Altar.” Did you know it was written by G.K. Chesterton? I’m posting it today in the hopes that it will sing through my mind whenever I think about this election – perhaps it will also be an encouragement to you. O God of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry, our earthly rulers falter, our people drift and die; the walls of gold entomb us, the swords of scorn divide, take not thy thunder from us, but take away our pride. From all that terror teaches, from lies of tongue and pen, from all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men, from sale and profanation of honor, and the sword, from sleep and from damnation, deliver us, good Lord! Tie in a living tether the prince and priest and thrall, bind all our lives together, smite us and save us all; in ire and exultation aflame with faith, and free, lift up a living …