I had a lot of trouble with the ‘X’.
Below is a an experimental hymn to be sung during Holy Communion. It is an acrostic hymn; that is, each stanza begins with a different letter of the alphabet, in alphabetical order. Not a lot of ‘X’ words to choose from, so I cheated a little.
I would like to encourage the English-speaking, musically talented members of our congregation to think about creating some new communion hymns. The ones we have are beautiful, but you can only sing them so many times before you start wishing there were some more. And surely, there is so much more that can be said or sung about the unique mystery of the Eucharist? Here is my idea of the ideal characteristics of a Holy Communion hymn:
1. It should be joyful. This is actually not my idea, but a strong Church tradition. Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is perhaps the most joyous experience we can have on earth, so the Church teaches us that we must not sing sad hymns while we have it.
2. It should help us experience the mystery of the Eucharist more deeply.
3. It should focus largely on Jesus Himself, so far as possible, although of course it can present Jesus as He is reflected in the lives of His saints, for example.
4. It should touch the heart as well as engage the mind.
5. It should be in keeping with the general style of the Coptic liturgy’s musical tradition. Communion is, after all, the final part of the liturgy, not an ‘add on’ after the liturgy has finished.
6. It should be relatively easy for the whole congregation to join in. A repeated chorus helps those whose memory may not be crash hot.
7. It should have an enjoyable tune. Praying should be an experience of joy!
So, I had a go. I am not very musically gifted, so I ‘borrowed’ a traditional tune that most people seem to really like, “O Kirios Meta So” from the Tamgeed hymns. It has the benefit of repeating certain parts of each line, which would hopefully help to encourage everyone to join in with their voices. It is meant to help children understand a little better what Holy Communion is all about, and adults to focus on the purpose of Holy Communion as they come forward to recieve it.
All comments are welcome. Any suggestions for fine tuning the words are also welcome.
An acrostic hymn sung to the tune of ‘Agios Istin’
Agios means / sacred and spotless / the name of God / and the holy sacrament / of His Body and Blood.
Blessing means / the gift that He sends down / upon our lives / blessing all that we do / through His Body and Blood.
Calvary means / the place where / He was crucified / willingly surrendering / His Body and Blood.
Divine means / the real and true God / the Ruler of everything / became one of us / in His Body and Blood.
Eternal means / that we shall live / for evermore / Eternal life without end / through His Body and Blood.
Friendship means / He is our closest friend / who knows our every secret / and dwells with us / through His Body and Blood.
Grace means / the gift we do not deserve / Yet out of His love He gives / us His Body and Blood.
Heaven means / the place where we shall / live with Him / basking always in the light / of His Body and Blood.
Image means / when He dwells in our hearts / we become like him / like Adam in God’s image / through His Body and Blood.
Joy means / happiness and rejoicing / no one can take from us / for it is hidden in our hearts / in His Body and Blood.
Knowledge means / we can know the invisible God / when we know His only Son / that is Jesus the Word / through His Body and Blood.
Light means / He shines His pure radiance / on the darkness of our lives / and shows us how we should live / through His Body and Blood.
Mystery means / a miracle far beyond / human understanding / how the bread and wine / become His Body and Blood.
Newness means / the old life with all its sins / we leave behind us / He creates us anew / through His Body and Blood.
Open means / His arms on the Cross / are wide open to receive us / with unbounded love / through His Body and Blood.
Purity means / spotless, and without sin / is our Lord Jesus / and He makes us to be like Him / through His Body and Blood.
Quiet means / we are still and serene / listening for His soft voice / preparing our hearts / for His Body and Blood.
Repentance means / our hearts change completely / leaving sin behind / protected from temptation / by His Body and Blood.
Sacrifice means / He gave up His life / for the life of the whole world / He gave unselfishly / of His Body and Blood.
Table means / the altar, a meeting place / a stairway to heaven / upon which there sits / His Body and Blood.
Unity means / we all eat from one Body / and drink from one cup / joining us all together / in His Body and Blood.
Victory means / the devil and his power / are defeated and crushed / by the power of His love / through His Body and Blood.
Witness means / we profess His death / and His resurrection on the third day / to the whole world / through His Body and Blood.
eXalted means / His glory is above all / that is heaven or on earth / we praise and glorify / His Body and Blood.
Yearning means / our hearts and our souls / are so very hungry / for the Bread of Life / that is His Body and Blood.
Zeal means / we are filled with energy / to go out and serve Him / whenever we partake / of His Body and Blood.