January 13, 2006

"Onward, Christian Soldiers"

A question asked in the entry for January 15, 2006, is whether "Onward Christian Soliders, No. 331, from Hymns of the Spirit Two, can be "rescued" for progressive or post-liberal worship. The intent of Hymns of the Spirit Three is to, hymn by hymn, rework each and every hymn from Hymns of the Spirit Two (1937), to make it "singable" today, to the extent that is possible. Hymns of the Spirit Two was originally published by two "liberal" denominations "for use in the churches of the free spirit," it was reprinted a number of times; most recently under the auspices of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1981 by Beacon Press (the hymnal predates the existence of this "consolidated" denomination, however).

More than any other text, it is clear that what follows subverts (at least in part) the intent of the original, while preserving many of the phrases and words from the original. All feedback is welcome, of course.


Onward, Christian soldiers, crying "war no more!"
With banners of justice going on before.
Christ, the people's teacher, leads against the flow;
Forward through thoughtlessness see that message go!
Onward, faithful soldiers, crying "war no more,"
With banners of justice going on before.

Like a people's army moves the church of God;
Kindred, we are treading where the saints have trod.
May we be united, all one body we,
One in hope and freedom, one in charity.
Onward, faithful soldiers, crying "war no more!"
With banners of justice, going on before.

Crowns and thrones may perish, regimes rise and wane,
But the church of freedom constant will remain.
O trials can never 'gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.
Onward, faithful soldiers, crying "war no more!"
With banners of justice, going on before.

Onward then, all people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in this good-will song.
Glory, laud and honor unto God we bring,
This through countless ages earth and angels sing.
Onward, faithful soldiers, crying "war no more!"
With banners of justice, going on before.

Posted by rehurst at 11:04 PM | Comments (6)