Monday, January 23, 2012

How Firm a Foundation

I've always enjoyed singing, and hymn singing has been been one of my favorite parts of church, depending on the hymn of course. :) My family is rather snotty about music. As my understanding of God has changed, many hymns have become more difficult to sing. I struggle with all the male pronouns. Hymns express such love and dedication to our Father, but what about our Mother? I miss expressing love and devotion to Her. I feel like there's a hole where She should be in Mormon litergy. I also struggle with the exclusivism in many hymns. (A few monthes ago I went to Mormon Expression live podcast recording Mormon Fight Songs for Dummies. Having a rock band under the hymns helped make them easier to sing.)

On Sunday we sang How Firm a Foundation as a rest hymn. I love that song and was really worried that it would be hard to sing. That would make me sad. But as we were singing the 2nd verse, I realized that it was a song about how we can follow Christ's example.

"In every condition-- in sickness, in health
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth
At home or abroad, by land or by sea
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be."

The verse may originally have been written to talk about God taking care of us. But I was struck by how we could use this as a guide to who we can take care of. If Christ took care of everyone, regardless of situation, then we can to. The 7th verse added to my feelings that this song describes how we can be like Christ.

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot desert to his foes.
That soul though all hell should endevor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

Christ will not do everything. Our Parents will not do everything. If they did, we would not need to exist in communities. They have given us the responsibility to take care of the people around us. They are counting on us to take care of each other, regardless of their situation. Deserting or mistreating others is akin to deserting Christ to his enemies.

This has come home for me this week. I've been attacked by several people for having experiences and beliefs different from theirs. Despite claiming to follow Christ, they seem to feel justified in ridiculing my choices and attacking my beliefs. It's been a truly painful experience to be attacked so personally, to have my choices, my relationship with God, my spirituality, my self-definition and self-expression all invalidated and scorned by those who identify as Christian, even someone in my ward. Christ never said to only minister to those you liked or agreed with or understood. I tried to react respectfully to these incidents, and I sincerely hope I never hurt anyone as these Christian women have hurt me.


  1. I have lately been finding great things in hymns too. Not in every line of every hymn, but many things, even in hymns I had worried were a bit 'brainwashy'...

    Are you familiar with ? She regenders hymns as well as scriptures to make them inclusive of Heavenly Mother. :)

    1. I am familiar with that blog, and really enjoy it. There is so much power in female pronouns or duel pronouns when talking about God. It makes me cry every time I do it, and I don't cry easily. It makes me realize how much I miss the Divine Feminine in religion.

  2. I was never a big fan of that song until we learned it in Primary a few years ago. Verses 4 and 5 get me every time.

  3. It was a big moment for me when I first heard the words of the seventh verse - in college, because I actually don't think I'd ever sung all the verses before. They really struck me, so much that I went home from church and wrote in my journal about it. I'm generally annoyed with talk of hell and the devil lately, but your entire last paragraph - that's what I associate with this verse, and that's why I think it's gorgeous. I've had the same experience, and I hope the same thing for myself.