Hymn by Hymn

STJ#1013, Open My Heart

Hmm.  Welcome to another edition of “I want to like this one.”

I hate when I get to these moments in this practice; I often wonder if I’m being too critical, or too obtuse, or too…something. But this prayerful round, written by UU composer Henry Flurry, feels like a camel – a horse built by committee. All the parts are there, but they don’t quite seem to work together for me.

One issue I have is with how the lyrics land rhythmically on the melody – it feels unnatural to put emphasis on the wrong syllables; this piece asks us to sing “o-PEN my HEART TO all THAT i give” where in natural speech we’d say “O-pen my HEART to ALL that I GIVE.” I think that it’s rare that songwriters can get away with that sort of thing – Alanis Morrisette is about the only one I can think of off the top of my head – and it’s hard to learn a song when it doesn’t sit naturally.

The melody is fine, but with the words it poses – for me – a struggle.

And speaking of the words, I’m not 100% sure I agree with the theology. Now I know that the last time I suggested I didn’t like the theology of a song, I got a raft of angry comments and emails, so I am exceedingly gunshy at the moment. But I’m not sure I like the implication of the second line that I am not already part of the love. It sits wrong on my heart. I’d rather my prayer be one of helping me express the love, or pass on the love, or feel the comfort and healing of the love.

Open my heart to all that I seek;
Let me be part of the Love You give.

Anyway… I look at this song and think it’s so close, I want to like it and use it… but I probably won’t.

 

One thought on “STJ#1013, Open My Heart

  1. Yeah, I think you’re overthinking. Speaking for myself, I am sometimes part of the hate in the world. I am part of the impatience, the cruelty, the lying. And I want to be part of the love. That’s all. If we’re really going to insist that we’re already holy then we will be left with nothing to sing except praise and thanks, and I need songs of aspiration. Yes, of course, samsara is nirvana, and yet, here we are in samsara. When I sing, “Let me be part of the Love You give,” then I AM more a part of that love than I was before.

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