Confession: the first version of this blog was nitpicky and judgy, and by the time I got toward the end, I was really annoyed with myself. “Why can’t I just let this one be?” I thought. And so I looked not only at how critical I was being but how humorless I was also being and thought “if I’m this annoyed with me, everyone else is gonna be too.” So I decided I could do better, deleted the whole supercilious mess, and started again.
And, apparently, felt the need to confess this to you. I think it’s partly because there’s something about this hymn that does bug me, and I don’t know what it is, so I went on a quibble hunt. I don’t know if it’s because there’s still binary language, or because the Alexander Pope poem that lyricist Michael Young riffed off of is troubling (third line of the original is “by saint, by savage, and by sage”), or if it’s because the tune is too cheerful to be a mystical/meditative song.
I don’t know. I suspect this is someone’s favorite – and it’s a decent piece, all in all. And I can imagine perhaps using it in a service that needs a more theistic view of the seventh principle.
Mother of all, in every age,
in every clime adored,
by saint, by poet, and by sage,
your praises high have soared.
Goddess of nurture and of love,
all nature sings your care.
In life’s extravagance you prove
the gift of giving fair.
O spirit of unfolding grace
and deepest mystery,
teach us compassion’s gentle face
and wisdom’s mastery.
Teach us to cherish this proud earth,
its fragile beauty praise,
and for the dreams your joy gives birth,
a hopeful future raise.
It’s a fine hymn. It doesn’t inspire me, but it’s fine. It surely is not worthy of my snarky criticism – and sometimes, as I taught a troll yesterday, just because you can snark doesn’t mean you should.
Thus endeth the lesson.
PS: I couldn’t figure out what image to use, so here’s a nice picture of Nature in Winter. With a bridge.