Singing about Drinking Beer with Jesus

In looking for songs to sing, I have recently listened more closely to Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs than I ever had previously. Below are two of them that I particularly like, with the lyrics. First, here is “The Heavenly Banquet”:

I would like to have the men of Heaven in my own house;

with vats of good cheer laid out for them.

I would like to have the three Mary’s,

their fame is so great.

I would like people from every corner of Heaven.

I would like them to be cheerful in their drinking.

I would like to have Jesus sitting here among them.

I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.

I would like to be watching Heaven’s family

Drinking it through all eternity.

Attributed to St Brigid (10th century), translation by Seán Ó Faoláin

And one that I like even more is “The Monk and His Cat”:

Pangur, white Pangur,

How happy we are

Alone together, Scholar and cat.

Each has his own work to do daily;

For you it is hunting, for me, study.

Your shining eye watches the wall;

My feeble eye is fixed on a book.

You rejoice when your claws entrap a mouse;

I rejoice when my mind fathoms a problem.

Pleased with his own art

Neither hinders the other;

Thus we live ever

Without tedium and envy.

Pangur, white Pangur,

How happy we are,

Alone together, Scholar and cat.

(W. H. Auden’s translation of a poem by an anonymous Irish monk in the 8th or 9th century)


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  • Lothar Lorraine

    Hey James, do you believe the historical Jesus was one night really drunk and even enjoyed it? :=)

    Lovely greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    • James F. McGrath

      There’s obviously no way to know. But there is a story about him making a ridiculously large amount of wine for a group of people who had already had ample opportunity to become drunk! 😉

      • Lothar Lorraine

        How dare you say that doing a miracle in order to allow many people to get drunk is ridiculous?

        Where does your objective moral judgement stem from?

        To my mind, it would be quite godly to allow a bunch of desiring teenagers smoking the best weed out there!

        Actually, this would even be better than allowing them to drink a lot since Marijuana is demonstrably much less harmful.

        By the way, there is an atheist (but not anti-theist) scholar who made a good case that some writers of the Bible might have been under the strong influence of magic mushrooms.

        A reading of John’s apocalypse seems to leave no other possibility open.

        Lovely greetings from Europe.

        Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

        • James F. McGrath

          Actually the apocalypse is a literary genre. It is the belief that someone actually had the visions depicted that requires positing the use of narcotics. :-)

          • Lothar Lorraine

            It’s at the use of the word “require” we can see our main difference :-)

            In principle my worldview allows God to give someone genuine visions.

            The problem is that the apocalypse is a terror texts containing as many atrocities as adsurbities (provided of course the interpretation of the fundies is the correct ones).

            So, if they really saw all these things, I see two explanations:

            – they were deceived by an evil demon
            – instead of sharing bread at the Lord’s supper, they shared gigantic mushrooms

            Lovely greetings from Europe.

            Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son