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Friday, March 10, 2017

If You Want Healthcare then You’ll Have to Save – A New Hymn

I was thumbing through one of my collected hymnals, playing through songs familiar and not, when I came across one I haven’t sung in a long time - which is too bad, because it’s a decent little hymn. “Rescue the Perishing” words by Fanny Crosby / music by William Howard Doane.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave.
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying.
Jesus is merciful; Jesus will save.

But as I was singing this song, I realized that American Evangelical Christians are going to have a difficult time singing this song, at least as it’s written. We’ll resist, saying that this song is about spiritual salvation. And yes, that is true. But it is not merely about the rescuing the dying soul. How can we snatch them from the grave, if we are not concerned for their physical health? We’ve traded our tradition of social justice and our Christian mandate to empathy and love for a selfish economy.

I think we’ve traded the words of scripture for the advice that philosopher John Locke gave to one of his friends:

“…you should feel nothing at all of others’ misfortunes…”

So I’ve rewritten Fanny’s song, and I hope that she’ll forgive me.

Listen America, people are dying,
but the rich and the well should not be enslaved.
The sick and the poor, they’re all just lazy;
if you want healthcare then you’ll have to save.

Don’t buy a new cell phone, get another job;
if you want healthcare then you’ll have to save.

1 comment:

  1. Evidently some people think that greed, and a desire for power trumps love, mercy, grace and compassion...


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