The Deus Vult Hymnal – part the first

Enough is enough. Steps must be taken. For too long have we put up with wretched modern hymns, whining, sure, but doing nothing.

I here propose that we – I and anybody else who wants to play – Do Something. How about we take specific egregious hymns and through the magic of Scripture and doctrine married to classic hymn structures, write something that answers and corrects the pablum and heresy? Line by line, verse by verse, with references, we answer the drivel, the incoherences, the feels and, yes, the occasional overt heresy, with lines that mean something, advance the faith, and even rhyme!

We must for now set aside the ear-achingly bad music and focus on the texts. However numbingly awful modern church ditties may be, bad music most of the time merely insults taste and decorum, not Divine Truth directly. Besides, if we write our texts in any one of dozens of perfectly nice hymn formats, any number of existing tunes should fit them suitably.

Deus Vult 1
Just spitballing here…

We shall call this little exercise the Deus Vult Hymnal. Just because.

Deus Vult 2
Maybe this?

Today’s execrable hymn crying out to heaven for rebuttal if not vengeance, is the little Haugen tune All Are Welcome. Here, Mr. Haugen tries his musical hand at reinventing the Lutheran hymn, and the results are really not bad – musically speaking. The text, however, is a sort of motte and bailey: if we object to singing the Hegelian We Are Church Spirit into existence, we can be accused of objecting to being welcoming. Surely, the very least love of neighbor requires is welcome!

Deus Vult 3
Now we’re getting closer.

Right.

Deus Vult 4
This is my favorite so far. Let them be anathema!

“All Are Welcome”

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter.
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

I express my feelings about this piece here. Now, let’s rework a couple of the versus to more reflect the needs of the Church Militant as opposed to the Church Milktoast.

Start with some scripture and dogma. Let’s see: wheat and tares, sheep and goats,  “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” The Wedding Feast parable where the dude in the wrong clothes gets tied up and tossed outside. Dives and Lazarus, where Dives is not so welcome. All those psalms where enemies get crushed. Also, we’ve got a nice history of anathemas and acts that incur automatic excommunication. So, as Thomas might say: on the contrary, all are not welcome.

To be clear: all are welcome – to repent of their sins, accept the need for conversion, and embrace the intent to go and sin no more. Jesus talks an awful lot more about that than about welcoming people just as they are so that they can sing a new church into existence.

We’ve got plenty to work with here. But art must be employed. I set my meager talents to the task. Heck, since in this one case the music is perfectly acceptable, we’ll write to that form. First rough draft:

In this House of God the faithful met

His mercy we shall seek

A place where humble hearts entreat

forgiveness for the meek

Built upon the Rock of Peter

By God’s Hand eternally

The gates of Hell shall not defeat Her!

Christ in judgement, Christ in judgement,

Leads His Church to victory!

 

In this House of God the prophets speak

within His Holy Word

And bid us to defend the weak

Our loins for battle gird

Here the Cross shall stand as witness

As all Christians fight for Thee

And against that foe who will mislead us

Christ in judgement, Christ in judgement,

Leads His Church to victory!

…and so on and so forth. Needs work, of course. Only mostly calculated to make heads explode, it’s still 100% more orthodox and scriptural than anything Haugen has ever written.

Whaddaya think? You want to take a stab? What other songs have earned this treatment?

This inspires another possible cover:

Deus Vult 5
Christ in the mood for a little smitin’. Holy Mary averts her eyes, as the time for her intercessory mercy has passed, and Divine Justice come.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

6 thoughts on “The Deus Vult Hymnal – part the first”

      1. Awful song, true. We need to gather us in some sinners and degenerates, and make the army of the Lord our of them through penance and discipline!!

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