STLT#309, Earth Is Our Homeland

Now THIS is a humanist hymn I can get behind.

What a glorious celebration of that creating, created, creative spark within each of us that is greater than the sum of us and that in the living evokes Mystery.

Earth is our homeland: a song of stars, a grace
wrought of the ages, an opal spun in space!
Dawn’s far blue hill, soft nighttime still, dark ocean depth, smooth stone —
for gifts sublime that hallow time we’ll sing, making deep thanksgiving known.

Word is our glory, our breath of air, our cry!
Parables, letters, or star names in the sky,
or myths that play as poets pray bring meaning to our lives.
For ev’ry praise that hones our days we’ll sing, till the final day arrives.

Music is wonder, an alchemy of art,
love’s pure enchantment, communion for the heart!
From chants to Psalms, from jazz to Brahms, no soul may stay at rest.
For starry choir in sky afire we’ll sing, joined with them in anthem blessed.

Hope is our high star, the certitude love brings;
silence our center, our living water’s spring.
Though aching heart know self apart from Whole and Mystery,
for gatherings of strengthening we’ll sing, throughout human history.

If you detected some Belletini here, you’ve got a good eye (or ear). He wrote this with fellow Hymnal Commission member Helen Pickett (whose husband Eugene served as UUA president). I love the patterns of poetry, the metaphors, and frankly, the fact that they set it to the Brahms hymn tune Symphony – and by the way, in verse three, we see what you did there.

I haven’t sung it much – I wonder if its length puts some people off. Or maybe we don’t preach about creativity and the arts enough – because this is a perfect hymn for that. Or maybe – as regular reader Kaye would agree – using the first line as a title is misleading. You really wouldn’t know that past the first verse it’s about creativity and process theology from the words “Earth is our homeland” – would you? (And here’s the real shame – I have preached a sermon called The Art of Meaning a couple of times, but never when I could use three hymns, so this never made the cut. I’m preaching it tomorrow, and I had the perfect opportunity to use it, and I plum forgot. Dammit.)

Anyway – I love this piece and highly recommend writing services for which this is the perfect hymn to sing. Partly because I love the hymn, but partly because we need to talk about creativity, the arts, and humanity’s connection to both Earth and Mystery a whole lot more.

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