A Great Find

4 comments Written on October 8th, 2010     
Filed under: General
A few weeks ago I found a treasure in the attic of the old 5101 Covenant offices building. We were sorting through boxes and boxes of old Covenant World Relief stuff as we prepared to make our move to the new building.  In a box of old books I found a Bread for the World hymnal entitled, “Banquet of Praise”.  The title page describes the book as “A book of worship resources, hymns and songs in the spirit of justice, peace and food for all.”  This is the kind of song book that I have been looking for!

Last November I wrote a blog called, “Singing about Missio Dei, The Mission of God”.

I probably came across a bit cranky in my criticism of worship music that tends to over-emphasize individual faith (me and Jesus) and rarely touches on God’s love for the world and his mission, particularly among the poor, the powerless, and the marginalized.

Thumbing through “Banquet of Praise” I was thrilled to find so many songs, prayers, and liturgies that remind us of God’s love for the hungry and hurting.

Some of the lyrics are not for those who want to sing warm fuzzy praise songs. Some of the songs may even make us feel a bit uncomfortable.  One example is #187 by David A. Robb.

Sing justice to the wilderness that’s crying for a voice;
Until our needy neighbor’s served, can anyone rejoice?
Help us forego our ease and wealth, our gluttony and greed,
Not waiting till our neighbors beg to meet their pressing need.

Rich people in a hungry world still trample on the poor,
While building greater armaments to make the world secure!
We feed our feuds and not our folk while hunger rages on;
Help us forge peace from tools of war til swords and spears are gone.

Then let us, Lord, begin to trust believing we’ll be fed,
And learn to share resources while we wait our turn for bread.
Without the arms to terrorize, Lord speed the day of peace,
When we will look to you for right and justice shall increase.

Along with traditional hymns like, “Amazing Grace” and “Be Thou My Vision”, there are so many songs that proclaim God’s love and compassion for the hungry and suffering including:

“God of Justice, God of Mercy”

“In Christ there is no East or West”
“Lord Jesus, If I Love and Serve my Neighbor”
“Lord of Feasting and Hunger”
“Hope of the World”
“Live into Hope of Captives Freed”

My excitement at this great find was dampened a bit when I found out that Banquet of Praise is currently out of print.  However it is still being used, and I am hopeful that Bread for the World will either reprint it or that a revised hymnal will be published. An even greater hope is that the kinds of songs and prayers found in this hymnal will find their way into our worship services.

I will close with #19, a prayer of confession that I pray for myself and for the Church.

Compassionate one, we are surrounded by the needs of your people, and we are overwhelmed by their suffering.  We confess we could lessen the harm that comes to them by sharing their hardships and working to end the injustices our systems and lifestyles help to support.  Have mercy on us, we pray. Touch our hearts.  Help us to stand with your suffering children and to advocate their need to those who do not recognize their suffering. Open our eyes anew that we might know them as brothers and sisters and be glad for the richness they bring us. This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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4 comments “A Great Find”

Thank you so much for sharing this! I share many of the same feelings in regard to some of the worship songs we sing today. How I would love to have a copy of this hymnal! Please do share any other resources you come across. Blessings, Erika

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Erika, Thanks for your comment. It seems that there are many within the ECC that feel as you and I do about our songs of worship. If Banquet of Praise gets reprinted or a new song/worship book is published by Bread for the World, I’ll let you know.

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Great words, great challenge to live for others in God’s world today. Good also to remember that in every generation some have known this and lived it out. Now it’s our turn.

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