It’s Lent! And time to start breaking the bindings of our seasonal missalettes to the song section immediately following Christmas. Always an interesting time of year. (I am about to rant a little. If you are not in the mood, stop reading.)
Keeping strictly with the Vatican II documents which states that the words to the music that we sing should be in harmony with the faith of the Church, sometimes I scratch my head and wonder, “what the get out is this song saying?” Yet we blithely carry on singing anything put in front of us like a pig that will eat any slop chucked down in front of him.
For example, the song, “Hosea.” What exactly does this line mean? “The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.” When I spend enough time teasing out a possible interpretation (Jesus went to pray in the wilderness - The wilderness of our Lenten practices – will my bean burrito will lead me to Jesus?) then I suppose it can mean something. But – really? Is the best we can do?
Then there’s the song, “Ashes,” a perennial favorite. There seems to be a lot of Pelagianism here, but perhaps I am being too sensitive. It just sounds a little bit too much like I’m going to do this on my own, that I don’t really need God, He is just a crutch. In the meantime God, here are some ashes that I offer you (as opposed to bread and wine.) I know, I know, it is really saying we are offering ourselves (apparently the worst part of ourselves) until we have something better – but once again, really? This is the shining example of what we as human beings can muster?
Then there are all the “I, me, me, I, I, I, me, me, myself, a little bit of us, but mostly ME,” songs. Then again the whole book is chuck full of these. For example, “Jerusalem, My Destiny.” “I have fixed my eyes on your hills . . . MY destiny . . . I cannot turn away . . . this is OUR journey . . . I have found . . . I find a glimpse . . . I leave the past . . . I have met . . . I have found . . . I awoke. I, I, me, I-monster” I’m sure Jesus had SOMETHING to do here.
Then there is, “Lord, Who Threw Out These Forty Days?” Well, of course nobody has. They are still here.