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  • Outrageous Generosity (Still) - Hymns and Songs

    I love HymnQuest, I type in the theme or a keyword and it shows me hymns and songs that fit the bill.  Little plug - if your church doesn't already use it, consider buying it, it's fab.

    Anyway, this morning I'm starting to look for hymns/songs on the 'outrageous generosity' theme.  So, after looking up generosity as a theme, which was a bit disappointing, nothing very exciting popped up, I used 'outrageous' as a key word and found several hymns/songs I don't know which seemed to connect:

    'All will be well' - how to embrace this madness, by Bill Thomas, speaks of outrageous hope

    As Christ's body we move forward, by Jill Boyce-Tillman, speaks of outrageous liberty

    Come let us enter in now,  by Mike Busbee, Louise Fellingham and Nathan Fellingham, speaks of outrageous grace

    Outrageous love, that dares to breach, by Andrew Pratt, speaks (obviously!) of outrageous love

    There's a lot of pain, but a lot more healing, by Godfrey Birtill, speaks of outrageous grace

    There were three others which used the word 'outrageous' but they didn't quite fit as the use was more conventional!

    God's outrageous love and grace gives us outrageous liberty and hope... wow, that's a sermon in a sentence!

    These songs/hymns reflect the full breadth of the theolgical spectrum and many different traditions, but each hints at the outrageous generosity of God.

    Will I be using any of them?  Probably not, but I've enjoyed reading them.


    Here's Bill Thomas' little hymn anyway:

    1  'All will be well' - how to embrace this madness
        when earth itself is broken and in pain?
        When daily living overflows with sadness,
        such optimism surely is in vain?

    2  For even Jesus (God!) was not protected
        from anguish, torture, and a robber's grave.
        If God's self-revelation is rejected,
        how can we trust that there is power to save?

    3  Yet pain and grief can never be victorious,
        despite the grip of doom and stench of hell:
        for Christ is raised from death, ascended, glorious,
        to give outrageous hope: 'all will be well'.

         Bill Thomas (born 1961) © 2001 Stainer & Bell Ltd

  • All Saints Day - Orthodox in Heart

    Working from home today, on the basis that, with this cold, if I had a 'real' job I would stay home to avoid passing it on to others.

    A quick look at HymnQuest turned up this hymn by Percy Dearmer for All Saints Day:

    1  Unknown and unrewarded,
        Their very names have died -
        Thy true church through the ages,
        The remnant by thy side:
        These pure in heart did see thee;
        From dross of self refined,
        They spent their lives for others,
        Courageous, peaceful, kind.

    2  For many learn the doctrine,
        And lose it in their rules,
        And many drown thy Gospel
        In clamour of the schools;
        But thy true saints have found thee
        In all things as thou art;
        These followed thine example,
        The orthodox in heart.

    3  Wise were they all, and simple,
        And meek, and strong, and sane,
        Beloved and loving were they,
        With laughter in their train;
        They turned from fame and riches
        A happier way to choose,
        They understood thy kingdom,
        They welcomed thy good news.

    4  O why so few that follow?
        And why are we so far?
        Their gracious way is easy:
        Our dullness makes the bar.
        O king of saints, inspire us
        The love of self to slay,
        Till, all our ranks advancing,
        We throng the narrow way!

        Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)

    I rather like it... and verse 2 seems to echo some of the ideas about 'outrageous generosity' that gospel can be obstructed by 'right' theology... I guess what the liberation theologians would allude to as the tension of ortho-doxy and ortho-praxis.  The phrase 'orthodox in heart' seems a helpful one as we negotiate our way in a complex and confusing world.

    Anyway, as we remember saints official or unofficial, it's good to pause and see where we each fit into the story