Sunday, 13 April 2008

How great thou art

I was at a wedding recently, and, it being a wedding, there were hymns and stuff.

One of the hymns was 'How Great Thou Art' by Carl Gustav Boberg, which contained this verse:

O when I see ungrateful man defiling
This bounteous earth, God's gifts so good and great;
In foolish pride, God's holy Name reviling,
And yet, in grace, His wrath and judgement wait.

This struck me as interesting for a number of reasons:
- That verse seems to have an environmental theme, which is unusual for a hymn.
- The line 'In grace, His wrath and judgement wait' seemed to be an odd image. How can wrath wait in grace? It reminded me of Bill Hicks' one-line critique of Christianity - "The whole image is that eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love ..."
- The title 'How great thou art' reminded me of the sermon from Monty Python's Meaning of Life:
"Let us praise God.
Oh Lord, oooh you are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here I can tell you.
Forgive us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery.
But you are so strong and, well, just so super. Fantastic.

- Something I have thought about before - What sort of a deity would need constant praise from its followers? The idea that a God would need to be praised seems to be something of an anthropomorphisation.

So, in summary, I found being in a church and hearing people sing hymns pretty strange.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right. What kind of a God would need praise from his followers? It is his followers that need help from him, not the other way around! If God needed anything from man, rather than desiring to give to him, well he wouldn't be... God! "Paul Washer, the Gospel. The most terrifying truth of scripture..." is an awesome video on YouTube if you want to know about what Christianity is on about.