Summoned by the God who made us

Today’s hymn from Sing Praise is “Summoned by the God who made us” by Delores Dufner.  

I feel this hymn lacks coherence. As John remarked at morning prayer, it could be suitable for a baptismal service, but the only direct reference to baptism is in verse 2* (“Radiant risen from the water, robed in holiness and light”). Apart from that, it is a hymn on the general theme of discipleship and Christians in community. As such, it might be suitable for an ecumenical service, a renewal of vows, or possibly with verse 2 omitted for any general occasion when we wish to remind ourselves of our calling as a Church.  But the several verses are all on different themes.

Verse 1 refers to richness in diversity and unity; this is expanded in the chorus (“Let us bring the gifts that differ and, in splendid, varied ways, sing a new Church into being, one in faith and love and praise”). Verse 2, as well as the baptismal reference, speaks of being made in God’s image, verse 3 of trusting the goodness of creation and the Spirit within us, verse 4 of every nation and race, and verse 5 of the whole human family being drawing into an ever-widening circle (paraphrased). Lots of ideas, but with no development of them, and the early focus on commitment to Jesus and baptism seems at odds with the message of ‘every nation and all the human family’ at the end. Is the Church distinctive from the rest of humanity, or isn’t it?

* In ‘Sing Praise’, it is set as five four-line verses with a chorus, but John chose to sing it to an alternative eight-line tune, counting the chorus as verse 2 thus making three longer verses.  I think either works well enough, depending on whether you want a shorter or longer hymn and whether you want to emphasis the message of the chorus about using different gifts.

1 thought on “Summoned by the God who made us”

  1. I also felt the hymn lacked some coherence, and particularly I didn’t think the “chorus” stanza was particularly worth the five repetitions which the version in the book gave it – which is why I opted to shorten it somewhat. In particular I found the exhortation “sing a new church into being” more difficult to sing convincingly as I tried the longer version: yes the church needs renewal, but no, surely that doesn’t make it a “new church”; and yes, endeavour to bring that renewal, but no, that can’t be done by just singing.

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