Miniskirt Music and Blood Besprinkled Bands

Just a quickie to signpost you elsewhere on the hoary old subject of contemporary v classic hymnody... it raises a few interesting if well-worn points... tho what really caught my attention was the reference to Christian George's description of the theology in much modern worship as "miniskirt music - songs that barely cover the essentials". Whether or not that is fair it is too good a soundbite not to use!

But the reference to some of Charles Wesley's stinkers (and personally I think Chuck was the best hymnwriter ever... not that I as a Methodist am biased at all, I think that the arch Calvinists Watts, Newton and Cowper run him close) calls to mind one of his hymns that in a fit of insanity I used to close a service some weeks ago (don't ask me why, even I can't believe my reasoning now!)

1 Come, let us join our friends above
That have obtained the prize,
And on the eagle wings of love
To joys celestial rise:
Let all the saints terrestrial sing
With those to glory gone;
For all the servants of our king,
In earth and heaven, are one.

2 One family we dwell in him,
One church, above, beneath,
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death:
One army of the living God,
To his command we bow;
Part of his host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.

3 Ten thousand to their endless home
This solemn moment fly;
And we are to the margin come,
And we expect to die;
Ev'n now by faith we join our hands
With those that went before,
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
On the eternal shore.

4 Our spirits too shall quickly join,
Like theirs with glory crowned,
And shout to see our captain's sign,
To hear his trumpet sound.
O that we now might grasp our guide!
O that the word were given!
Come, Lord of hosts, the waves divide,
And land us all in heaven.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

It is, I am sure most will agree, awful. With its "blood besprinkled bands" it sounds like a call to Methodist Jihad, or prticipation in a Jim Jones-like suicide cult... However, it must be said that one (elderly) member of the congregation did say she found it, in conjunction with the preceding prayer, very helpful... So just goes to show that God can use anything.

But certainly in the current work being done on a possible new Methodist Hymnbook, which, we are told and logic dictates, will have fewer Charles Wesley hymns than before, I for one will not be clamouring for the inclusion of this one!


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