Sunday, January 9, 2011
Worship style wars are nothing new. Here is an old hymn of the church that caused a major crisis in some of the churchmen of jolly old England. In the late seventeenth century there was a tradition that had been held for many years which prohibited congregational singing except for translated psalms. This hymn proved to be controversial because of the heated hunter's chase in line 2. It was drew too much on the imagination which was could cause a person to have an emotional experience of a great thirst. (They'd have apoplexy today) God forbid we allow our emotions to mix with rational thinking.
However, the writers simply drew on the scriptural tradition of Ps. 42 and Isaiah 44:3 which talks about how God will pour water on him who is thirsty. (spiritually dry) Jesus spoke of seeking as one who looks for a gift when he said in John 4
"Open your heart for the gift I am bringing,
While you are seeking me, I will be found."
Read the words of this hymn and meditate upon the words. Go slowly and let them sink into you. What is a hart? It's a small deer. I say that because I know many who are not familiar with old English will not immediately pick that up. If you are young, pause from your point and click habits and sit on these words for a while. You will find them rich in theology.
The authors of the old hymns wrote many verses of which only a few ended up in our hymnals. (Check out our popular doxology. You'll be amazed at how many verses were and have been written for it) At the end, listen to the hymn played on a familiar tune. You'll pick up the hymn right away.
As Pants The Hart
by Nathum Tate (1652-1715) & Nicholas Brady (1659-1726)
Posted by RichnHim at 8:04 PM