I spent the weekend in Jekyll Island Georgia for the Conference on Communication and the Environment (about which I hope to blog more later) but I first need to tell you-all about the church service we went to on Sunday morning. Jekyll Island has a number of denominations, Kathi and I chose to go to the 8:30 episcopalian service because of the convenient timing. We were by far the youngest people in the place, (we knew things were gonna be interesting when the vicar began the service saying "it's good to see you all alive and well") It was traditional anglican liturgy, straight from the prayer book and the lectionary I assume, but we sang this really weird hymn, which left me in the pew feeling a little bit horrified and whose lyrics I found online to share with you all:
They cast their nets in Galilee just of the hills of brown;
such happy simple folk before the Lord came down.
Contented, peaceful fishermen, before they ever knew
the peace of God that filled their hearts brimful,and broke them too.
Young John who trimmed the flapping sail,homeless in Patmos died.
Peter who hauled the teaming net, head down was crucified.
The peace of God it is no peace, but strife closed in the sod.
Yet let us pray for just one thing the marvelous peace of God.
So, um, I didn't know quite what to do with that one. It made a bit more sense when the gospel reading for the day followed, but still, it deals with some tough ideas in a trite and inadequate way. This seems some weird mix of the "family values" christianity that just wants everything G-rated (contented peaceful fishermen) and Mel Gibson brutalism without much explination. I know the hymn didn't leave me thinking the peace of God made any sense at all. And maybe it doesn't, but it seems like something we can't just sing to a jaunty tune and then say "thanks be to God," sit down, and hear a loosely related homily. There's more to life in Christ than "strife closed in the sod" right? I mean, I guess that's part of it, but... wow.