Sunday, March 30, 2014

"As the Deer" [panteth for the water]...

...let's but honest, is just a terrible church chorus.  We sang it today, and it only served to make the fantastic hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," a welcome relief.  OK, maybe it's not terrible; I can certainly think of worse choruses, but it's lousy nonetheless.  It goes off the rails in the first stanza and the chorus is unbearable.  Let's retire it, people.  There are different versions of it, but they all suffer from the same malady of mixing King James English with contemporary English for no good reason.  If you must, you can listen to one version of it here.

"As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after Thee.  [So far, so good]. You alone are my hearts desire and I long to worship Thee."

What is that "you" doing there?  Why is it there?  It's up to no good!  And, seriously, it's just false piety to say God alone is the object of my desire.  Not only is that psychologically impossible, but there's nothing wrong with having other desires.  God built us that way.  Unity with God should be the chief desire but not the only desire.  This song forces all of us to lie every time we sing it.

"You alone are my strength, my shield.  To You alone may my spirit yield.  You alone are my heart's desire and I long to worship Thee."

WHERE DID THAT "THEE" COME FROM?  We were doing so well with all the "You's" and then we're blindsided by that "Thee" coming out of the blue.  It doesn't even rhyme with anything!  It just sneaks in like a cancerous cell on an otherwise healthy organ.  Martin J. Nystrom, what were you thinking?

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Tullius, very nice. When I go to my parents' Baptist church, I've often wondered similar things. Thus far not so much at ye ol' Lutheran church. But we're decidedly old school, from what I gather.