Monday, May 15, 2006

Accord

Come, Ye Children of the Lord

1. Come, ye children of the Lord,
Let us sing with one accord.
Let us raise a joyful strain
To our Lord who soon will reign
On this earth when it shall be
Cleansed from all iniquity,
When all men from sin will cease,
And will live in love and peace.

2. Oh, how joyful it will be
When our Savior we shall see!
When in splendor he’ll descend,
Then all wickedness will end.
Oh, what songs we then will sing
To our Savior, Lord, and King!
Oh, what love will then bear sway
When our fears shall flee away!

3. All arrayed in spotless white,
We will dwell ’mid truth and light.
We will sing the songs of praise;
We will shout in joyous lays.
Earth shall then be cleansed from sin.
Ev’ry living thing therein
Shall in love and beauty dwell;
Then with joy each heart will swell.

It is perhaps telling that the first thing that came to mind when I heard the word accord was the above hymn along with the music. I like music and one of the things that I miss from my church days is the worship music. This hymn is a song of hope and celebration that looks forward to the millenial reign of Jesus Christ and captures a message of hope and optimism that is reflected in the accompanying music.

I remember growing up in church when we had music practice during Sunday School opening exercises. The director I remember most was my piano teacher. She would start leading the song and if she didn't think the congregation was doing the hymn justice then she would stop the music, walk to the podium, and explain what the song meant and how it should be sung. She would repeat this until everyone one singing and doing the song. Joyous songs were sung joyously, worshipful songs worshipfully, and sad songs sadly. I gained a much greater appreciation for church music under her direction.

That carried over to my student days at BYU. I remember really getting into singing the hymns during meetings. It helped that all of the members of the congregation were young, enthusiastic college students and that many had musical talents from their Mormon upbringing. I remember sitting next to girls with angelic voices and being thrilled at the spirit that was conveyed by not just the hymns, but the union of several hundred voices expressing a common belief.

When I became a missionary I spent two months in the Missionary Training Center and music was an integral part of the experience. We sang hymns in our classes, in our branch meetings, and in MTC firesides. Nothing can compare to the joined voices of hundreds of missionaries lifting their unified voices in a celebration of their most deeply held beliefs. It literally sent chills down my spine and brought tears of joy to my eyes. During my mission I often found myself singing hymns to myself to lift my spirits or to express my feelings. This continued after my mission when I'd sing hymns while walking to classes or while resting privately in my room.

Later in life it often saddened me the way that hymns were sung during church services. All of the hymns were played at the same dirge-like 60 beats per minute no matter what the recommended tempo of the hymn was. When the members did sing, and many didn't seem to, it was without enthusiasm or spirit. Instead of being a celebration of their faith the hymns were just another example of going through the empty motions that seem to characterize much of the Mormon culture; they were doing it because they were supposed to but didn't really enjoy it and really didn't seem to see the point.

Even though I don't go to church any more and even though I don't literally believe the message of the above hymn, it still lifted my heart to remember it and sing it in my heart. This is one of those happy memories that are all the more important because they sometimes seem rare.

Weekly Anamnesis

1 comment:

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Yes.. I remembered only two lines of the song... but when I read the word ACCORD, it was what I thought of first.

AND... one of the reasons I do not like going to the NEW mormon church services is they have ruined the music. If you can't sing, you can't feel... And really, none of these people have to sing like stars... they just have to sing with heart.

I sometimes wish for the church of my childhood. Obviously, much of the old church spirit is gone. It makes me wonder if it is because the church leadership is trying to make every congregation, every building, every place EXACTLY the same. --no variety allowed.

Good post.