Monday, June 22, 2015

117. Table Grace Hymn

I was covering a Lutheran church's vacation Bible school today for the local newspaper when I discovered, by experience, that there is truly no limit to the stupidity that religious songs written for children can achieve. So I've decided to branch out into another hymn project: writing children's songs that don't suck.

I know, it's going to be hard in many, many ways. Hard to devise lyrics small children can readily learn while not necessarily making slightly bigger children want to gag, or even perhaps gag themselves on purpose to get out of singing them. Hard to write simple, kid-friendly poetry that isn't also cheap, trite, cutesie or moralistic; that doesn't sound like Dr. Seuss or A. A. Milne or a hapless adult trying to sound hep, hip, hip-hop or otherwise something he's not; that actually teaches spiritually useful stuff like, you know, the gospel without sounding tediously didactic, etc.

So, anyway, it's going to take some experimentation. Here is Experiment No. 1, a children's table prayer inspired (to begin with) by the one in Luther's Small Catechism: "Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts, which we receive from Thy bountiful goodness through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Heav'nly Father, God and Lord,
Bless us as we share this board.
Both in body and in soul,
Give the gifts that make us whole.

Jesus Christ, our living Bread,
Bless the food we now are fed.
Both by word and holy sign,
Feed our faith with food divine.

Holy Spirit, heav'nly Dove,
Blow on us God's faithful love.
Both in plenty and in need,
Help us walk the way You lead.

Three in One and One in Three,
Let us free from worry be.
Trusting Your providing care,
May we also learn to share.

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