As I prepared this talk, I also consulted with some of my hymn-text-writing colleagues. These are people who craft texts only, apart from music. I asked them questions along the lines of “why do you write hymn texts?” or “what value do you see in hymn texts?” and such. I don’t think it was a coincidence that there was a lot of resonance between their various responses, or that I was able to use their responses to sort my own perspectives together into six separate groups.Read more
Author: Alan Hommerding
To the Victor . . .
As I looked at those centuries-old structures in Spain, built by religious folk whose gods had beaten another’s, I thought of the increasing number of razed or re-purposed church buildings in the U.S. and found myself wondering what might or might not be left of current structures in the year 2500. Who will be viewed as the conquered or conqueror? I don’t pretend to be a savvy prognosticator, but I do believe that history is beginning to be written…today.Read more
Spy Wednesday: Haunted by the Footwashing
“I saw where thou didst wash the dusty feet of those who, when the soldiers came to haul thee off to death, took to their well-washed heels.”Read more
Heaven, Hell, Hallmark, Holy Week
Thanks in large part to the greeting card industry, everyone—in the manner of an Oprah give-away—passes immediately into eternal bliss. (“You get to go to heaven! And YOU go to heaven! And YOU …”).Read more
What Are You Singing This Lent?
Lent must also lead us to experience, celebrate, and live out the grace of God’s mercy, to reveal and see in ourselves the goodness that God sees in us, as in all creation.Read more
St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN, to close temporarily
This likely will include the school’s summer degree program in liturgical music.Read more
Social media, anti-social behavior, and the Body
We believe in an incarnate God, held and touched and seen face-to-face by Joseph, Mary, and Simeon. Our prayer tradition, founded on that enfleshed God, may suffer when its members are physically severed from one another.Read more
Do Translators Wear Prada?
I actually do believe that translators—metaphorically speaking—should wear Prada. As should the theologians, writers, poets, and singing musicians who work with them. It’s a good thing to have knowledgeable people working on the liturgy’s linguistic attire.Read more
The Fifty-first Anniversary of the Closing of Vatican II
Sometimes I think of the mystery of the Incarnation—central to Advent and Christmas—as God deciding to enroll in the “Human Being 101” course. Not because God didn’t grasp what it was like to be fully human, but because WE didn’t grasp that God fully knew our human experience. So, in the person of Jesus, God lived among us and knew our joys and hopes, our griefs and anxieties first-hand. And we still unfold and celebrate that mystery in our own day-by-day living as members of Christ’s Body.Read more
Liturgy and Chastity: The Pure-heartedness of Ministry
In both Joseph and Mary we see a single-heartedness, a purity of intent, a devotion to their child Yeshua bar Yussef, even before his birth. It is the very stuff that covenants, and vows, and ministries are made of. Their living of the beatitude “blessed are the pure in heart” does not mean that they were never confused, or were never afraid, or never doubted. Certainly they each had moments that we would all recognize as frail humanity in action. But in their love—of God, of their child, of each other—they also knew the fullness of Emmanuel, the God-with-them.Read more