Questions about a Song

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Nick_P

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I am a member of a Church choir that often sings beautiful motets written by Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, etc. Unfortunately, we also sing many modern songs that don’t compare at all with these. 😦

Recently, we’ve started to rehearse a song that we will probably sing on Corpus Christi which if I remember correctly, is called “Come Eat Bread”. I don’t recall the composer’s name.

The refrain has the words: Come eat bread, drink this wine. Come be healed, in God’s sign. Many are one, are made one, one in Unity, one now become.

First verse: Saint and sinner welcome in. To this feast of harmony. Holy people, holy kin. Gather round the glory tree. Scattered people, scattered sheep. At this table all are fed. Blood and body, bonds run deep. As the kingdom feast is spread.

There are similar verses, all of which leave me somewhat unsettled. Somehow it doesn’t seem right theologically. Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Nick
 
Nick P.:
I am a member of a Church choir that often sings beautiful motets written by Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, etc. Unfortunately, we also sing many modern songs that don’t compare at all with these. 😦

Recently, we’ve started to rehearse a song that we will probably sing on Corpus Christi which if I remember correctly, is called “Come Eat Bread”. I don’t recall the composer’s name.

The refrain has the words: Come eat bread, drink this wine. Come be healed, in God’s sign. Many are one, are made one, one in Unity, one now become.

First verse: Saint and sinner welcome in. To this feast of harmony. Holy people, holy kin. Gather round the glory tree. Scattered people, scattered sheep. At this table all are fed. Blood and body, bonds run deep. As the kingdom feast is spread.

There are similar verses, all of which leave me somewhat unsettled. Somehow it doesn’t seem right theologically. Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Nick
The chief problem (other than insipid lyrics) seems to be that listeners will think that Communion is nothing more than plain bread and wine. The portion of the song quoted doesn’t indicate any acknowledgement of the Body and Blood of Christ.
 
Hmmm… it throws me off a bit, too. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

That, in itself (that I can’t put my finger on it) is the RED FLAG for me!

“in God’s sign”

What?!? Not ACTUAL PRESENCE? Just a “sign?”

I certainly wouldn’t sing that one, myself.
 
We sang (I didn’t) Let us break bread together for Communion today.
Same problem - at Communion it isn’t bread - its the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
 
I cannot remember who said it, or the actual quote, so I will paraphrase. Modern religious music is third rate poetry set to fourth rate music. There are so many “hymns” today that are weak theologically and just plain bad music. I do see a coralation between poorly formed Catholics and poorly formed music. Perhaps the reason this bothers us is because we expect the song to both reflect our beliefs and to actually praise God in a way that normal prayer falls short.
 
ralphinal,

peace be with you! i think that quote about third rate poetry and fourth rate music might have come from George Weigal’s article on hymns that should be banned (i think it was called something like Index of Forbidden Hymns). i could be wrong though.
 
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ralphinal:
I cannot remember who said it, or the actual quote, so I will paraphrase. Modern religious music is third rate poetry set to fourth rate music. There are so many “hymns” today that are weak theologically and just plain bad music. I do see a coralation between poorly formed Catholics and poorly formed music. Perhaps the reason this bothers us is because we expect the song to both reflect our beliefs and to actually praise God in a way that normal prayer falls short.
This thread illuminates an area that I am very interested in–church music. I have been involved in church music for 28 years on the Protestant side, as a composer-lyricist, instrumentalist, singer (solo and ensembles), and director. I have also had experience with modern Catholic music when my wife was still practicing her faith; in fact, the first song I wrote after the Lord brought me back to Himself was performed by the Catholic choir at Misawa Air Base during their 1976 Christmas concert.

It has been my ***very personal opinion *** that in general the musical and lyrical quality of Protestant contemporary music is higher than that of Catholic contemporary music. Again I stress “in general.” There are some Catholic contemporary songs that are great, and there are some Protestant contemporary songs that stink. I have never studied why that is, but my top-of-the-head opinion is that the lower place of congregational and special music in the Mass means that Catholic writers simply don’t have as much experience. Also, a style may have developed during the “folk mass” era (remember those?) that writers simply have not been able to break out of.

Still on a personal level, I love chant and Renaissance church music. However, at one time the ink on even those works was fresh. If you were responsible for choosing the music in your church, how long would the composer have to be dead before you would consider using one of his songs?

DaveBj
 
Before returnng to my Byzantine Catholic roots, I did attend the Roman Catholic church for 37 years, and even to me, the lyrics of that song are vague at best.

To me, it’s an attempt to lump the expression of the Holy Eucharist of Christ to a community picnic. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: “Come all, come one! Eat at our community picnic feast! We don’t care who you are, it’s all free!” :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I’d stay away from that song as soon as possible! Compared to that song, Eat This Bread from the 1970’s is MORE Liturgically Correct!

Edwin

Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him Forever!
 
Thanks all for your thoughts. The song certainly is wishy washy at best. Unfortunately, I am not the choir director and don’t choose the songs. 😦 Fortunately, we do often sing Renaissance motets and fitting music by composers such as Mozart. 😃 If only we could do it all the time!
 
In today’s parish bulletin, besides calling the choir members and “altar servers” to task for their dress (“You should be the first ones to show others how to dress”), our pastor had a note about music.

Paraphrased and translated it says “The bishop has again told me off about the use of inappropriate music in the Mass. Popular songs with Christian words are not acceptable, nor or songs from non-Catholic sources” (i.e. Protestant, etc.)

I was present the first time the bishop made that comment in our parish. His (translated) words were “Mi Viejo San Juan (a popular song in Puerto Rico) with Christian words is still Mi Viejo San Juan. It is acceptable in a retreat or other activity, but not in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”

I still remember that to date - and it’s been around 25 years since he said it.
 
There’s a lot of (name removed by moderator)ut from me about songs-but whoever the lady was who correlates so much of what we sing now with bad digestion of belief in that it’s laughably third rate, well my hat goes off to her (except I don’t wear one)

Do you have that one in America that goes on interminably? Love is His Way, Love is His Word…One keeps changing a word of the lyric to link the verses, well it uses the bad word sign about the Eucharist and seems to be generally shy of saying God or Jesus in place of Love.Bread for our strength , wine for our joy…I don’t know what was in the writer’s head…war films ?Hitler slogans ?No thanks…

I vowed that I would go elsewhere to Mass if they played a number that has come from independent evangelicals in England . It’s called Shine Jesus Shine and it is a football chant pretending to be a hymn.

How do you feel about Meekness and Majesty ?

Do you sing this one “Be still for the presence of the Lord…How awesome is the sight a radiant king of Light…Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place” Not quite what Catholics believe in.

I have no idea why a final example has become so popular-They call it the Celtic or Gaelic Blessing and it starts “Deep peace of the running wave to you” It’s an eco hymn,full of references to nature rather than God really.I’ve decided it’s thin and it’s been sung so much that I want a rest from it.

There are lovely ones, do you sing “My Song Is Love Unknown” ?
Doesn’t that show that they really knew what they were about years and years ago…it’s from English Civil War time.
 
Poetry that masquerades as hymnology

A positive but mysterious example

Lord you have come to the lakeside

…Then you have looked in my eyes Lord
Smiling gently you called me by name
And I left my boat on the lakeside
Now with you Lord I will seek other shores…

It “rocks” like the fishing vessel, I’ve no idea where it comes from.

Now moving once again into the chamber of horrors, during the Eighties largely because of the grand optimism of the charismatics in our midst even Easter vigil meant engagement in the following daft ditty:

The Spirit lives to set us free (He’s immortal?)
W a l k walk in the Light !!!
He binds us all in unity
Walk walk in the Light
Walk___________in the Light
Walk in the Light of The Lord!

The verses are mere word associations which actually trivialise what’s described

We know His death was not the end
He gave us the Spirit to be our Friend

All it was good for was bearing the Paschal candle from the new fire to inside…deacons loathed it, it’s about as sensibly theological as something from the Cub Scouts.

I also in ecumaniac days found another one embarrassing.

We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
and we pray that all unity may one day be restored
and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

It never struck me as an honest song at all, and of course it’s probably one of only one of these hymns that suits the Week of Christian Unity.If you sing it in Catholic Mass who are desiring union or unity with ?

The Lord of the Dance-gets the little ones running around, but do they for one moment need to understand it ?The Passion is very trivialised “They cut me down, I leap up high” I often wonder whether the writer was pondering on what Jesus said about the disbelievers “the children in the marketplace saying to their fellows, We have piped unto you, you have not danced” I certainly hope he didn’t mean the eastern Shiva whose dance begins purgative cataclysm.

Same writer-One more step along the road I go…and it’s from the old I travel to the new…Keep me travelling along with You.

A lovely piece often sung to the tune of “Be Thou My Vision” includes the verse that must crystallise an entire generation of people’s thoughts about the Holy Family

Lord of all eagerness Lord of all faith
Whose strong hands were skillled
At the plane and the lathe
Be there at our labours
And give us we pray
Your peace in our hearts
At the noon of the day

Suffice me to say that the lady who wrote this very inspiring hymn was not a Christian, she felt she wanted to write as if she was one and responded to the ministry of the Rev Percy Dearmer.

Before I finish, do you sing "Jesus good above all other"in the US.
It doesn’t have to be a children’s only hymn and it’s far more theologically strong than dire Christmas carols.

We go on with Thee beside us
And with Joy to persevere.
 
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Disillusioned:
I vowed that I would go elsewhere to Mass if they played a number that has come from independent evangelicals in England . It’s called Shine Jesus Shine and it is a football chant pretending to be a hymn.
Haha they sang this at my parish on Sunday! I did not know it was a football chant! How atrocious! I pretty much just thought it was childish and cheesy.

But as for all the talk of bread and wine, I remember complaining to one of my Jesuit priests because our chapel sang this instead of the Agnus Dei-
“Jesus, Lamb of God, bearer of our sin, Jesus saviour, hear our prayer, hear our prayer, through this bread and wine we share, may we be your sign of peace, everywhere.
Jesus, Lamb of God, bearer of our pain, Jesus healer, hear our prayer, hear our prayer, through this bread and wine we share, may we be your sign of peace, everywhere.”
Anyway, I was complaining about the use of bread and wine, and how I thought it was totally inappropriate, and he told me that Rome has said that it is ok to refer to the Eucharist as bread and wine. I don’t know if this is true, and I don’t like it even if it is, but that’s what he told me. I think that it’s sketchy in a time when 60% of Catholics don’t believe in the real presence.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about Liturgical music is the ones that speak directly to each other as opposed to adressing the Lord, ie Table of Plenty, Anthem (this one is terrible), etc. We’ve had Mass parts including “Give glory to God in the highest” rather than just singing Glory straight to Him. And we have “Sing alleluiah to the Lord” instead of just crying alleluiah. I mean, do we have to tell each other sing alleluiah? That one drives me nuts.

jp2fan
 
RE referring to the Eucharist as bread and wine, I also think there is not enough emphasis on the Real Presence. However, this usage is actually part of the Mass: one form of the Mystery of Faith says, “When we eat this bread and drink this wine…” This is said, of course, right after the consecration. I made a query, and apparently it is supposed to be taken from one of St. Paul’s epistles.

AND, I STILL think it is a poor choice for the Mystery of Faith, because it doesn’t clearly state the belief in the Real Presence, regardless of where it comes from. But, its there and used.
 
TANGENT ALERT…

Anyone heard the song “One Bread, One Body”?

At a certain point the song goes, “Gentile or Jew…Servant or Free.” The notes that accompany those words are identical in interval, timing and chord accompaniment to “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues.

Everytime I almost end up singing, “Nights in white satin…Never reaching the end.”
 
At Christmastide we had to sing congregationally “When a Child is Born” (as popularised by Johnny Mathis?) Every single line is a cliche…what is possessing them to imagine that this is about the birth of our Saviour ?

You come across people who listen to something called "The Nuns’ Chorus, it’s not serious religious music, inset in a forgotten work about C a s a n o v a (?!)It’s as funny as “sisters” from the Sound of Music and as abominably inappropriate as Linda Darnell in the old film of its time about S Bernadette.Should someone ask your organist for it, resist…

I saw a comedy which underlines our problems.Someone in a wedding gave an over the top rendition of "If a picture paints a thousand words"far in excess of Telly Savalas…I think it probably should have stayed an instrumental-but too many people treat it as spiritual…

And one by one the stars would all go out
But you and I would simply fly away…

Has anyone come across directives in the new documents which might stop the use of secular music all together ? I mentioned at the very head of another thread that our pop priest forces an artiste onto us by way of piped CD …the artiste is highly dubious,his commitment to our religion hardly exists…he’s just supposed to sound nice and good.
 
A lot of the selections for music come prepackaged from the outfit in Oregon which pubishes the missalettes and the separate hymn book, filled with all the banal “hymns” composed since the 70’s. They put out a compendium for the readings, responsorials, and suggested hymns for each week as a subscription deal with what is placed in the pews. Needless to say, the hymn selections, if followed slavishly, will reflect what is in the hymn book, which for the most part are forgettable at best and theologically suspect at worst.

This does not explain all of it though. When the choir directors choose, I think they actually can be worse.

Ever have a nice time bellying out “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by that noted Catholic hymnist, Martin Luther?
 
Thomas-I met a girl who wrote her music thesis on what had happened to sacred music since the Council.She had a snappy title for her discoveries which I’ve forgotten.Part of the oddity is that the reading age prerequisite has gone down and the modern hymns are like evidence…it really is dumbing down.

Have you actually sung "A mighty fortress " in your church? Does your religion teacher confuse the German monk with the civil rights leader?

Don’t rely on Taize chants. They’re dying out in Taize itself. Something to do with revisions…they are hypnotic, but then that doesn’t make them right.I’ve heard that the eucharist there is a free for all…surely that isn’t right.
 
Do you sing “We are marching in the light of God”?

No thanks, it means left-wing fists and you might as well sing "The Red Flag "…I hate confusion between political liberation and freedom from sin…Jesus was not a Zealot…
"Roddy McCorley"isn’t allowed during the Mass-so why all this ANC banner waving?

Just in case you don’t follow…“See the hosts of fleetfoot men who speed with faces wan/ From farmstead and from fishers cott along the banks of Bann/They come with vengeance in their eye/Too late too late are they / For young Roddy McCorley goes to die on the bridge of Tuam today”

Well you might tell where and among whom I went to school.

“True to the last !True to the Last!
He treads the upward way
Young Roddy McCorley gave his life
On the bridge of Tuam that Day!”

These were the ballads of the old fortress mentality-they’re clan and tribe and not Kingdom.The worst of them glorify violence and even the best tread a fine line between identifying heroes of one side with the sacred sacrifice we honour as Christians,
They’re best forgotten unless you are as red as the collective farm tomato crop.
 
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Thomas:
I made a query, and apparently it is supposed to be taken from one of St. Paul’s epistles.
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thomas-
The passage you’re referring to is 1 Cor 11:26- “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

However, this is directly followed by: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.”

I imagine things would get pretty interesting if we said both of those verses as the mystery of faith.

jp2fan
 
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