Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Walgreen's Music Musing

Today's trip to Walgreen's, unlike my 1980s-pop memory trip of December 13, yielded the above music selection, which is actually a prayer written and performed by the late George Harrison, MBE in 1973, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).

Mr. Harrison was not a Christian (apparently, he was baptized in infancy, but was raised in a non-practicing Roman Catholic home, and subsequently embraced the Hare Krishna sect of Hinduism in 1969), and yet his desire for peace is certainly universal among men, along with the other petitions in this song for love, life, light, freedom, hope, faith, and physical communion with God (or some alleged supreme being Harrison calls "Lord").

That same desired universal peace, the peace which passes all understanding, can only truly be found in Christ.

This theme of peace through the Lord Christ was sung by the hosts of heaven to the Bethlehem shepherds when Jesus was born, and the prayer for peace lives on in different parts of the Eastern and Western Christian liturgies - such as in the prayer to Christ known as the Agnus Dei, which contains the line: "Grant us Thy peace," (sung in Latin as "Dona nobis pacem"); the Pax Domini ("The peace of the Lord be with you always"); and the great hymn of praise the Western Church copied from the East, known to us by its Latin name, the Gloria in Excelsis (the above, mentioned angelic prayer which includes the line: "Peace, goodwill toward men").

"Peace" is explicitly mentioned in many of our Christmas hymns, including Silent Night (LSB 363), It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (LSB 366), Where Shepherds Lately Knelt (LSB 369), and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (LSB 380) - with many more hymns addressing the concept without using the word "peace."

"Peace" became the way modern Jews greet each other (Hebrew: "Shalom"). Jesus Himself greeted the disciples this way after the resurrection. A variation of this Hebrew word, incorporated into the name of the Holy City (Jerusalem), was chosen by the 19th century founders of my congregation: Salem.


George said...

Here's a brain teaser: If I sing along to Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" which is essentially a prayer to Krishna, am I engaging in syncretism? :)

Father Hollywood said...

Not if it is done in a baseball stadium in New York.

I would still skip the Hare Krishnas.


Kelly Klages said...

Alex makes me skip "MSL" whenever I pull out All Things Must Pass and insist that he listen to it with me (which is often). I don't mind!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Kelly:

I've often wondered if "All Things Must Pass" was George Harrison's way of secretly telling us about his kidney stones - you know, like the whole Paul being dead thing. :-)