Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind

Words: John G. Whit­ti­er, in the At­lan­tic Month­ly, Ap­ril 1872.
The words are from a long nar­ra­tive poem, “The Brew­ing of So­ma.” It de­scribes Ve­dic priests go­ing in­to the for­est and drink­ing them­selves into a stu­por with a con­coct­ion called “soma.” They try to have a re­li­gious ex­per­i­ence and con­tact the spir­it world. It is af­ter set­ting that scene that Whit­tier draws his les­son: “Dear Lord, and Fa­ther of man­kind, for­give our fool­ish ways…” This hymn is as rel­e­vant to­day as when it was writ­ten. In a mod­ern con­text, it speaks to the drug cul­ture, and those look­ing for an “ex­per­i­ence” to prove the re­al­i­ty of God. The hymn was sung in the 2007 mo­vie Atone­ment, which won an Acad­e­my Award for best score.
Music: Rest (Mak­er), Fred­er­ick C. Mak­er, 1887

This time is a very difficult time for me, but wonderful thoughts keep coming to my mind and this song is one such blessing. In the years 1966-68 I was an Army Officer stationed in El Paso, TX and for most of those years I served as the choir director of the Protestant Chapel at WM Beaumont Gen Hospital where I was assigned. It was there that I first heard this hymn and it's been a great favorite for the past 40+ years. My former wife and mother of my three children played the piano and sang well and she and my daughter Beth and myself have sung this at church at least one occassion I recall.

"Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise."


Eulene said...

I have just discovered your blog and I'm excited! I suddenly felt an urge to read again this lovely hymn and possibly post it on my weblog. That was followed by an idea - google it and see what comes up. In doing that, I discovered your blogsite. I think we have several things in common: I too come from Saskatchewan; I am familiar with Yakima, having relatives there; I have similar feelings regarding contemporary Gospel music. I would love to communicate with you somehow. God bless you.

Daria said...

Good words.