Hymn for Lent (Day 36): O God of earth and altar

Today being the commemoration of Óscar Romero, I thought I’d share a good social justice hymn. This is one of my faves.

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honor, and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

Words: G. K. Chesteron, 1906.

Here’s a congregation and choir singing this hymn (a bit faster than I might like, and with a sloppy procession, but those are quibbles). The text is usually paired with King’s Lynn, and this video offers a fine meditation on that tune.

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