Lyrical Liabilities?

In the March 28-April 3 issue, George Weigel criticizes “We Are Jesus” hymns and mentions “Be Not Afraid,” “You Are Mine” and “I Am the Bread of Life,” adding that “the congregation (for the first time in two millennia) pretends that it's Christ.”

It is certainly in keeping with Christian tradition to pray Psalms or other verses from Scripture that use the voice of the Lord. Prayer is conversation between God and us. An important part of prayer is listening to God as he speaks to us in Scripture.

At the Christmas Vigil Mass, we sing from Psalm 89: “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: Forever will I confirm your posterity and establish your throne for all generations.” And further along, “He shall say of me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.’ Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him, and my covenant with him stands firm.” Many of the Psalms switch voice in midstream between God and people. Most people are smart enough to understand the poetry.

In addition, many of the Communion antiphons from the Roman Missal use the same words as “I Am the Bread of Life” from the Gospel of John. In fact, the Communion antiphon from the feast of Corpus Christi is John 6:57 — “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live in me and I in him, says the Lord.” People understand what they are singing and, in song, these words help us ponder what Jesus said and learn his words by heart.

In addition, I would like to point out that Oregon Catholic Press leaves out the offending verse from “For the Healing of the Nations” in its hymnals.

JANET NOVESKE North Olmsted, Ohio Director of Music at St. Richard Church