More and more, practitioners of Progressive Christianity are speaking out about the beloved but threadbare hymns in current denominational hymnals. Most are intolerable. The rest are downright counter-productive to the foundations of 21st century faith. As George Stuart has noted, these traditional hymns use lyrics and words that “express ideas which singers no longer enthusiastically or wholeheartedly endorse,” resulting in “much personal irritation” from “a growing and significant number of people.” The result has been Stuart’s efforts to use traditional hymn tunes to be the vehicles of contemporary, progressive Christian ideas.
“I write my alternative lyrics particularly for many of the older members of congregations who have grown up in the church and love the many old tunes they have sung over the years, but who now find that the traditional words are no longer meaningful, helpful or even tolerable.”
— George Stuart
As Bishop John Shelby Spong says that Stuart’s work “meets a critical demand. It is terrific,” here’s just one example of Stuart’s poetry: an Advent hymn called “The Search for Hope.”
The Search for Hope
By George Stuart, The Uniting Church (Australia)
Tune: Darwall (66.66.88)
[“Rejoice, the Lord Is King” #715 in the United Methodist Hymnal]
1. We search for lasting hope
To help us face each day,
To give us reason to pursue a different way.
In Christ we see
A way to go through ‘high’ and ‘low’
And set us free.
2. Sometimes the hope we want
Is difficult to find;
It falls to us to foster it in heart and mind.
In Christ we know
A path to tread through peace and dread
And help us grow.
3. When others seem to break
When hope seems at an end,
We may be able to give hope
just as a friend.
In Christ we share
A call to be in ministry,
To love and care.
4. Hope brings us back to life
In hope we can proceed;
God of the future calls to us if we but heed.
In Christ we view
How God can reign in our domain;
Make all things new.
5. This Christmas brings new hope
For justice, peace, goodwill;
This Advent time may bring with it a secret thrill.
With Jesus born
New hope can be reality
With each new dawn.
Lyrics by George Stuart. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Without any further permission, the lyrics herein can be copied, stored or printed for public worship or private devotions, screened through a data projector or projected by an overhead projector, as required.
When the lyrics are used, acknowledgement of the author is requested.
There is however, a strict copyright prohibition regarding copying any of the lyrics in any way whatsoever for re-sale.