Monday, August 31, 2015

Hymns in the News

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, and this news is a few weeks late, but I recently came across an article about an episode of the popular British television programme Songs of Praise, which, as you may know, has presented hymn singing every week since 1961 on the BBC, from a wide variety of locations.

Anyway, this piece from August 15 seems especially relevant here in the US, given this summer's ongoing coverage of various political opinions on immigration.  Unfortunately, the Songs of Praise episode can only be viewed for the next few weeks if you are in the UK (but that does include some of my readers there, who may have missed it).

Without getting into a long discourse on my own thoughts regarding the immigration question, it seems better to tell you about some relevant hymns. Modern hymnwriters have made the useful connection between the story of Mary and Joseph's flight into Egypt, briefly told in Matthew 2:13-15, and our understanding of what it might mean to be a "refugee."  I commend to you the following texts:

When Jesus was a refugee by Mary Nelson Keithahn (2002)

Gentle Joseph heard a warning by Carl P. Daw Jr. (1990)

Jesus entered Egypt by Adam M. L. Tice (2007)

The last two are particular favorites of mine.  We could certainly do worse than to sing these hymns and others like them as the immigration debate swirls around us in the coming months.

P.S. - This painting by Orazio Gentileschi, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1628) depicts the Holy Family as simple weary travelers, not attended by angels as in several other depictions.

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