Friday, March 28, 2008

First The Toronto Blessing. And Now?

I know this is a bit post-Easter, but quite frankly I didn't catch this until five days after the story posted.

At West Hill United Church in Toronto, Canada, the hymn, Jesus Christ Has Risen Today, Hallelujah was brought forth and sung amongst the congregation. Only this time it was delivered after a short dance with the church's editorial board.

The change? The name of Jesus Christ removed, and exchanged for the term "Glorious Hope."

That triumphal barn burner of an Easter hymn, Jesus Christ Has Risen Today – Hallelujah, this morning will rock the walls of Toronto's West Hill United Church as it will in most Christian churches across the country.

But at West Hill on the faith's holiest day, it will be done with a huge difference. The words “Jesus Christ” will be excised from what the congregation sings and replaced with “Glorious hope.”

Thus, it will be hope that is declared to be resurrected – an expression of renewal of optimism and the human spirit – but not Jesus, contrary to Christianity's central tenet about the return to life on Easter morning of the crucified divine son of God.

Generally speaking, no divine anybody makes an appearance in West Hill's Sunday service liturgy.

I distinctly remember when Oxford amassed a consortium to throw the infant out with the briny with their Inclusive New Testament, but I really, really thought such a ridiculous foray would stop at pamphleteering.

Apparently not. At leat we can count on Hollywood to keep Jesus in their script-writing. "Glorious Hope's" chances of becoming the in-vogue workplace, guttural outburst are next to none.


1 comment:

aahrens said...

This is so sad, but not surprising at all. I recently bought a new hymnal ( I have this "thing" with hymnals, new and especially old) and I was not suprised to see quite a few changes. "Good Christian Friends Rejoice," in the hymn "At the Cross" the word "worm" is replaced with "someone" and I've seen "wretch in "Amazing Grace" replaced with "someone." Pretty sad. I ran across a great article called "Saved A Wretch Like Who?" that elaborated on this very subject. I'm a good person, I'm not a worm or a sinner! Come on!