Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Worst Hymn Ever Published

Having been a church organist in a wide variety of churches, I’ve seen some pretty weird church music in my time. I’ve seen Zippa-Dee-Doo-Dah as the opening song at a Unity church. I’ve had to endure years of music from the abominable Gather songbook in the Roman Catholic Church.

Baby, I’ve seen it all.

However, one hymn really sticks in my memory as being The Worst Hymn Ever Published. This accolade goes to the hymn titled . . .

(are you ready for this?)

“God of Earth and Outer Space” which was included in a Baptist hymn book from the 1970s.

The Baptists had used the standard Baptist Hymnal published in 1956 and this was the one I grew up with. But in the early 70s, it was time to modernize the hymnbook and I guess the editors, in their misguided wisdom, decided that a hymn about space flight would be timely.

I can recall only one occasion of ever hearing this hymn actually sung in church. During the Sunday evening worship, we would often have a sing-a-long service in which members of the congregation could request a hymn to be sung by calling out the page number. One time (and one time only) someone called out "Number 20!" which was the page number to this thing.

It was horrible. You could tell everyone was embarrassed about actually singing:

God of earth and outer space,
God of love and God of grace,
Bless the astronauts who fly
As they soar beyond the sky.
God who flung the stars in space,
God who set the sun ablaze,
Fling the spacecraft through the air,
Let man know your presence there.

God of atmosphere and air,
God of life and planets bare,
Use man’s courage and his skill
As he seeks your holy will.
God of depth and God of height,
God of darkness, God of light,
As man walks in outer space
Teach him how to walk in grace. . . .

Isn’t that the most excruciating thing you’ve ever heard? As the congregation sang it, you could tell everyone just wanted to crawl into a hole.

Obviously, the editors of this hymn thought all astronauts should only be men. (Never mind the fact that the Soviets had been deploying female cosmonauts since 1963.) Heaven forbid any Soviet accomplishments would ever be incorporated into a Christian hymn.

I wonder what ever became of this thing.

The Baptists now have a new hymn book, and if there is a god, “God of Earth and Outer Space” didn’t make the cut.



At 2:32 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Hilarious! LOL! :)


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