We’ve spent most of Saturday at the wedding of friends, a happy and relaxing occasion, and a lovely service conducted by an excellent minister. The whole thing was superb, with the exception of verse 3 of the opening hymn. Allow me to explain…
Perhaps I’ve been on a different planet from other hymn-singers during my 41 years here on earth, but I’d never heard this version of ‘All things bright and beautiful,’ and my eyes were somewhat agog when they read these extra four lines (suffice to say, they’re not in the Songs of Fellowship version):
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly
And ordered their estate.
Now I know the Church of England is sometimes described as ‘The Tory Party at prayer.’ I just didn’t realise it may be also be Tory Party at sung worship.
I wouldn’t say I was upset to read this. More like angry, enraged, appalled, embarrassed and cringing as I looked round at the congregation, most of whom I’d guess aren’t regular church-goers. Can I simply say that this verse struck me as the most offensive, unbiblical, theologically-dubious, patronising, anti-prophetic, status-quo affirming lyric I have ever encountered?
.., and now that’s off my chest, I can relax for the evening.