Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bad Communion Hymns

A few years ago I was flipping channels in a hotel room and stopped on a Roman Catholic channel broadcasting a recording of a Mass. A woman was singing "You satisfy the hungry heart." I'd never heard it before and I thought it was some kind of contemporary worship thing. Didn't pay much attention to it. After that, I've noticed my pastor using this as a communion hymn. I'm not sure why a 1970s Roman Catholic hymn ended up in the Lutheran Service Book.

From a Roman Catholic education website:

A fifty-year ban is in order here. As it is for "Gift of Finest Wheat." The late Omer Westendorf did a lot for liturgical renewal, but he was no poet (as his attempt to improve on Luther in his rewrite of "A Mighty Fortress" "the guns and nuclear might/stand withered in his sight" should have demonstrated). Why Mr. Westendorf was commissioned to write the official hymn for the 1976 International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia is one of the minor mysteries of recent years. "You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat/Come give to us, O saving Lord, the bread of life to eat" isn't heresy. But it's awful poetry, and it can be read in ways that intensify today's confusions over the Real Presence. It, too, goes under the fifty-year ban.