Monday, August 18, 2003

I'm usually one of the first to pooh-pooh those who complain about liturgical music. But sometimes they have a point. Last Sunday, we did "I myself am the Bread of Life" by Rory Cooney at communion. I don't think this song has been particularly singled out for scorn, but let's look at the words to the chorus:

I Myself Am The Bread Of Life

An almost direct quote of Christ's from the Gospels. There are those who don't like having the congregation sing Christ's words directly. That's discussed in considerable detail here. I don't have much new to say about this other than I don't have a problem with it, and those who do have a problem with it would also have to have a problem with the psalmist.

You and I are the Bread of Life

It's here where the fuddy duddies would check out saying, (truly enough) "Hogwash! We are no such thing!" But let's continue...

Taken and blessed, broken and shared by Christ
That the world might live

Ok, that's a nice enough image, even though that's no actually what happens. I'd be willing to let it go as metaphor.

Except for one thing. There's so much confusion right now among the faithful about what the Eucharist is. Do we need to introduce more metaphors? Is the imagery worth the extra confusion? We do not actually become the Bread of Life, but the Blessed Sacrament does become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Isn't that what we ought to be stressing?

We also (apparently) switch after the first line from quoting Jesus to speaking for ouselves, which is a tad awkward. All in all, we have to go through considerable mental gymnastics to get to a non-heretical meaning.

Now, I also think that Cooney and the music minister are not putting this song out with the intention of spreading heresy. They think it presents a nice image (which it does), and did the best they could. What bothers me about the fuddy-duddies is the way many of them seem to think that anyone who could like a song like this is some sort of radical heretic bent on destroying the Church.

And I don't find that attitude helpful.

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