Ablaze!(tm) hymn, from Mollie

I don’t know why but I love visiting the Ablaze!(tm) site to read the latest Ablaze!(tm) stories. These are where people share their examples of faith-sharing. And that’s how it’s written: “Share your Ablaze! faith-sharing.” It’s like the Ablaze!(tm) counter skips another 100,000 each time you use the word share.

Anyway, the stories were a bit boring this time so my eyes wandered down to the new Ablaze!(tm) hymn.

I have to share the lyrics:

One mission, one message, one people in Christ!

Tune: “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” (LSB 802)

One mission, one message, one people in Christ!
Empow’red by His Spirit, together we rise.
To praise and adore Him who now as of old,
Continues to care for us within His fold.

One mission, one message, one people of God!
Together we follow and speak out His Word.
Together we tell of His great love abroad.
Together we serve Him throughout the whole world.

One mission, one message, one people: Proclaim!
And heed Christ’s commission to go in His name.
Baptizing and teaching His Word far and wide,
Through peril and trouble He stays by our side.

One mission, one message, one people: Rejoice!
Sing out Jesus’ mercy with united voice.
Join in celebration—in Christ we are one!
Extol God the Father, the Spirit, the Son.

To me, this hymn talks about sharing the Gospel rather than actually sharing the Gospel. It reminds me of something I heard Pr. Wilken say once about the difference between a husband talking about being intimate with his wife and actually being intimate with her. But sometimes I’m too critical.

What do you think of the Ablaze!(tm) hymn?


Ablaze!(tm) hymn, from Mollie — 22 Comments

  1. Using the Wilken Diagnostic we ask the question “who is the subject of the verbs?” When we do this we find that this “hymn” talks about what we do for Jesus and not what Jesus does FOR us. With that as the backdrop we find that this hymn falls far short as Jesus is not the subject of the verbs.

    I don’t think you’re being too critical at all if your criteria is wanting Jesus to be the subject of the hymns.

  2. We have plenty of hymns that talk about “the Church” in the way this hymn wants to. My biggest problem is that the poetry is just bad. It’s shoved together with an agenda that’s eerily Orwellian. There’s a reason songs written for LWML Sunday never make it into regular use. This sucker fits the same bill.

  3. This hymn is completely consistent with the Ablaze! program:

    + “We” are the subject of every sentence.

    + The hymn puts “mission” before “message.”

    + The hymn calls for unity in mission while ignoring our real divisions over the message.

    + The hymn speaks about Jesus saving work in the vaguest terms: “his great love,” and “Jesus’ mercy.” (In fairness, the same could be said of A Mighty Fortress, but that’s no excuse for avoiding the Cross.)

    + The stanza beginning, “One mission, one message, one people: Proclaim!” doesn’t actually proclaim the message –nor do any of the other stanzas.

    This hymn is Ablaze! through and through.


  4. Revfisk wrote: “My biggest problem is that the poetry is just bad. It’s shoved together with an agenda that’s eerily Orwellian.”

    Agreed. It’s a hymn written around a slogan, rather than from the Word of God. It’s a marketing jingle, not a Christian hymn.

    But the biggest problem (common to Ablaze!,) is that the Great Commission replaces the Cross. The “message” of Ablaze! is “we, and our mission” rather than Christ, and Him Crucified.


  5. If you’re singing a new song, then sing it to a new tune.
    Maybe something more along the lines of ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke.’

  6. I confess that I do not know the LSB 802 tune, but the following is a new verse for consideration:

    One mission, one message, one people confide!
    The Gospel assumed is the Gospel denied!
    In God and consultants we faithfully trust!
    With hearts on fire our theology & practice combust!

  7. This week’s CPH Sunday school/Bible class lesson is about Samuel. The following phrases are “lifted” from the Adult Teacher’s Manual. It properly describes the purpose of Christian hymnody. “Hannah’s song is a precursor to the song of Mary, the Magnificat. Hannah’s song ends by looking forward to the Anointed One in Mary’s womb, and how Mary’s song ends by looking backward to the promise that the Messiah in her womb would fulfill. Both songs are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.” Oh that today’s hymnists would follow Hannah and Mary lead in their own poetic attempts – and thereby proclaim Christ!

  8. Everything you folks have written is absolutely true and accurate. This is a wretched hymn, and yet, sadly enough, it would be a step in the right direction if the Ablazeâ„¢ folks actually did this stuff.
    1) “One Message” (i.e. the Gospel) vs. the “bait -n- switch” cultural relativism of adapting the message to recruit those for whom the Cross of Christ is a stumbling block or folly.
    2) “Continues to care for us within His fold” seems to advocate what the Schwärmeri generally refer to derisively as “maintenance ministries” (i.e. forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.)
    3) Both “Together we follow and speak out His Word,” and “Sing out Jesus’ mercy with united voice” seem to require a refreshing liturgical unity (especially when compared to the Babel Ablazeâ„¢ generally inflicts on the Bride of Christ.)
    4) “Baptizing and teaching His Word far and wide” would certainly be a lot better than the decision theology of Ablaze™’s “Great Omission.”
    5) And you’ve got to love a Trinitarian ending!

    In short, if the Ablaze(tm) folks faithfully put this hymn into practice, perhaps they would begin to understand why it’s a bad hymn, and why selling Christ like laundry detergent is incompatible w/ Matt 28.

    Pax Christi +,
    -Matt Mills

  9. Matt,

    Well said.

    You wrote, “And you’ve got to love a Trinitarian ending!”

    Yes, at least the last line wasn’t, “The Muslim god is also the True God too.”


  10. Thanks Pastor,
    It absolutely floors me that a Lutheran Pastor (and a DP for pity’s sake) could come to such a ridiculous conclusion from “ob sie gleich nur EINEN wahrhaftigen Gott glauben und anbeten,” I just reread “On War Against the Turk.” Someone will have to explain to me how, with Dr. Luther unambiguously referring to the Turk’s god as “the Devil” in 1528, Dr. Benke’s can make him into “THE” True God using Luther’s 1529 Large Catechism.
    Kyrie Eleison,
    -Matt Mills

  11. The definition of “hymn” is “A song or ode in praise or honor of God, a deity, a nation, etc.” Since this song focuses on us, it doesn’t fit the definition, so let’s stop the charade of calling it a “hymn” in the first place. Calling it a “ditty” would be more appropriate. Call it “ditty useless nor good,” or “dung” for short.

  12. Hmm… that AblazeTM hymn reminds of another stunning organizational hymn:

    Lutheran women, one and all,
    We have heard the Gospel call.
    We by faith have seen our Lord
    Crucified and then restored.
    We have seen Him pay the price,
    For our sins a sacrifice.
    Him we Lord and Christ acclaim
    And unite to praise His name.

    Lutheran women, young and old,
    Well we know His challenge bold:
    Help to take the Gospel light
    To a world in darkest night,
    By example in the home,
    By inviting those who roam,
    By our prayers for sinners lost,
    By our gifts for missions’ cost.

    Lutheran women, coast to coast,
    In the Lord a mighty host,
    Let us all united be
    In the Holy Trinity,
    One in faith, in hope, and love,
    Working for the Lord above,
    Till, our earthly labors done,
    We in heaven shall all be one.

    Tune: LSB 892

    Perhaps a bit more Gospel in the first verse than the AblazeTM hymn, but that second verse just gives me shivers. And of course a nice Trinitarian ending to make everything okay.

    Tune: “Amazing Grace”

    Ablaze disgrace, the heat profound
    That makes it rest on me:
    I’ve won the lost, but more abound–
    It’s high anxiety!

    Ablaze has taught my heart to burn,
    Ablaze my guilt increased.
    What pressures did Ablaze apply–
    Statistics never ceased!

    Through many programs Synod shares
    The kingdom surely comes.
    ‘Tis doctrine that gets in the way
    And causes us speed bumps.

    When we’ve filled up ten thousand pews,
    Igniting every one,
    We’ve no less days to stay ablaze,
    Till Jerry says we’re done.

    One Mission, Mission, Mission One!
    One Mission, Mission One!
    One Mission, Mission, Mission, Mission!
    One Mission, Mission One!

    Tune: “Light My Fire”

    You know it’s what you need to do,
    You know it makes your head perspire.
    Sinners lost because of you–
    Ev’ry second folks expire!

    Come ablaze and get on fire!
    Come ablaze and get on fire!
    Try to drive the numbers higher!

    The time to get it straight is through,
    No time to do what we did prior,
    No one really knows what’s true,
    So we sure don’t need no purifier.

    Come ablaze and get on fire!
    Come ablaze and get on fire!
    Try to drive the numbers higher!

  15. Great hymns Charles. For better or most certainly worse you have inspired me to write my own. I’m no hymn writer, but I think this will work for a future Ablaze! ™ hymn.

    Tune “Amazing Grace”

    Amazing blaze how hot the fire,
    That burned my heart to ash,
    I once was just a boy scout, but now I’m counted in the ticker,
    Send lots of money, we need your cash .

    I have promised to do good for the Lord,
    And I will see it through,
    I will tell everybody sitting on the plane next to me,
    Tis the least that I can do.

    Through much glory we have seen the Lord,
    There is no suffering with his power,
    We’ve been faithful people to our God,
    This is our finest hour.

    Yes, now that grandpa’s Oldsmobile is dead,
    We’ve got a brand new car,
    We all have to get out and push,
    We have a car that won’t go far.

    When we’ve been here for ten more years,
    Self righteous as can be,
    We’ll see no need for Jesus any longer,
    To ourselves we will bend the knee.

  16. The only thing that’s better than this Albaze!(TM) hymn is singing it repeatedly in daily chapel at Concordia-Ann Arbor when Ablaze!(TM) was allowed to take over “Spiritual Life” for a semester to push the Bible Sticks on us.

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