Dear Riviera Family,

On July 1st the choir will sing what we used to call The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Battle Hymns are not P.C. in church circles so the hymn is now called Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory. At one point the hymn was considered a patriotic song and was listed in the hymnal under the category of national songs but now is it is placed in our hymnal under the section called ‘Christ’s Return and Judgment’.

At first I was going to ask Seth to cancel the Anthem. It sounds like a military march (well, actually….it is one from the Civil War) and is reminiscent of hymns such as Onward Christian Soldiers which was taken out of our church three hymnals ago for not passing the theological board’s approval. And where both songs used to conjure up joyful memories to me of marching around our Sunday School as a child while singing them, I now know that Onward Christian Soldiers is really bad theology, and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory is militaristic. In the hymn, we sing about sounding the trumpets, not retreating, and that God has a terrible weapon, a swift sword, which is lightning fast…… Now, phrases like that make me uncomfortable.

Theology changes with society. Theology is the point where our faith, our relationship with God, and the world in which we live merge and come together. So, it must be always changing with society to stay relevant and alive. The world has drastically changed since these hymns were created. As Christians in the 21st century, we live in a multi-national, multi-cultural world. We live in a world we can destroy so our duty is to wage peace and not war. The progressive church works, not to keep us back in an earlier era, but to take the Gospel message of God’s love to a new day and time.

The goal of this summer’s sermon series has been just that. To take these old Hebrew texts we don’t usually study and see it they speak to a new day. The women who lived in oppressive ancient Israel and the Minor Prophets from a time when Israel was beaten down and scattered by other countries, still have a message to tell us. Sure, perhaps their situations and settings are not applicable to our world now, but we are finding that their messages are.

Which leads me back to why, in the end, I was so happy the choir sang that anthem. We might not relate to the war-like verses in the hymn that were written for people to sing as they marched into battle during the Civil War, but the refrain is still our refrain as well.

Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
God’s truth is marching on!

In Christ and In Love,
Missy

Admin eSolutionsMissy’s Message