“Redeemer Lord” – a song for our times

angstToday’s gospel from Luke 12 has one prophecy of Jesus that indeed has been fulfilled – deep and profound divisions everywhere.

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother… (See Luke 12:49-53)

This piece by John Foley, SJ, “Redeemer Lord,” appeared in Lord of Light, 1981. It’s grand in concept, deep in its theological perception, and imposing in its musical breadth.  Do listen.

It’s a song for our times:  “Why must we wander so far away from your truth?  Open the heavens!  Return to our side!  Come back to your servants now!  The pathways are parting now; we choose yet you hide from our sight.  Rupture the heavens!  Come back to our side!  Come down to your people, Lord of Life!”

The angst of separation, even abandonment, stands in the fore.  No one knows you, O God!  Where are the great saving deeds you would do?  “Lord, look how your people stand afraid!”  Why are we divided?  Do something!  The pain of it all!

And the faithful remnant sings its trust in God: “My shepherd is the Lord, there is nothing I shall need.  Fresh and green are the pastures where he leads.”  It soon grows stronger and stronger with urgency, feeling now the global suffering of separation.  Is the remnant triumphant? Defiant? Defeated? Depleted? Fearful? Angry?

Hope and trust abide within the stormy divisions. The remnant faces courageously the terrible absence of God.  And yet, the question is never answered – Who wins?  Peace?  Angst?  You make the call.

Because we are still in the midst of it all.  And isn’t the the place to inhabit now?  “Come to our aid, O God!”


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