Saturday, October 22, 2011

Writing a Baptismal Hymn

We're in the process of writing a baptismal hymn text to the tune of "Children of the Heavenly Father." We'd love your feedback or ideas. Thanks!

Children born of sacred waters, God’s creative sons and daughters,
Gathered here, a child to embrace; all of us revealing Your face.

By your fresh baptismal river, into new life we’re delivered -
By your holiness surrounded, by your love we are astounded.

Healing Rain and Dancing Ocean, wash us clean - set us in motion.
Use this water to remind us that your love will ever find us.

God of new life and creation, God of dreams and firm foundations,
Through your children, light reflected; we accept that we’re accepted.

3 comments:

  1. I wish that I could contribute an idea... perhaps a classmate would have one... I will ask them tomorrow...

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  2. This song, no matter the words, evokes tears for the most stoic Swedish Lutheran men I ever knew. Interestingly in my southwest Iowa Swedish-American immigrant community, this beloved cradle song is typically sung at a funeral. We may not get emotional at any other moment during the service, and somehow, the service is incomplete without it. Your new words are really, really lovely and create beautiful imagery for a tune that is dear to many.
    Here's my take on "Children Of The Heavenly Father." I enjoy your blog - thank you!

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  3. Very nice! Here are a couple of thoughts:

    Line 2: Try "THIS child" instead of "a child"; see if it sings as well. We never baptize "a" child in general, always "this" child in particular.

    Line 4: how about, "By your love we are NOW GROUNDED" or "IN your love we are NOW GROUNDED." Yes, we're surely surprised, but more than our subjective surprise is God's objective grounding. Plus, the GR feels stronger than the ST sound.

    Line 5: going out on a limb here: how about "WET WITH JOY - set us in motion." Of course, we like to say that baptism washes us clean )of original sin), but what do we gain by calling babies dirtied by sin? If baptism helps us see the love -- and the goodness -- in which we were already clothed in the womb, perhaps wet with joy is more true.

    Line 8: the closing couplet (we accept that we're accepted) is wonderfully Tillichian, but however profound the idea/experience of "acceptance" is, the word itself seems flat-footed. I'd minimally go with "we REJOICE that we're accepted," which gives a strong J in the final phrase. But maybe something like: "AS THESE WATERS, SPLASH AND SWIRL, GRACE THIS CHILD TO LOVE YOUR WORLD." This tries to hint at the "vocational" character of baptism, which not only claims us but also sends us.

    Just thoughts. Hope they help stew the pot while you simmer toward your final text!

    David

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