Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean they are incapable of singing “Ave Maria”…

… When my son told me the children’s choir was performing Lord of the Dance at mass this weekend I was a tab bit confused…

The Boy: No, it’s a real song.

The Mom: Really? A song called ‘Lord of the Dance’? Will there be tambourines involved?

The Boy: Noooooo. Just a guitar maybe.

The Mom: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Well, let’s hear this ‘Lord of the Dance’

The Boy:♩♪♫♬ I danced in the morning when the world was begun. I danced on the moon and the stars and the sun. ♩♪♫♬

The Mom: OOOoo. I know this one. ♩♪♫♬ I danced over the rainbow to get my lucky charms, I tapped my feet and I waved my arms ♩♪♫♬.

The Boy: What? No! It’s about Jesus. Jesus dancing.

The Mom: On the moon.

The Boy: And the sun and the stars.

The Mom: So Jesus is an astronaut.

Lord of the Dance written by Sydney Carter;

Partly inspired by Jesus, and partly by a statue of Shiva as Nataraja, Sydney wrote the lyrics “Lord Of The Dance” in 1963, as an adaptation of Joseph Brackett’s “Simple Gifts”, and a tribute to Shaker music. He later stated, “I did not think the churches would like it at all. I thought many people would find it pretty far flown, probably heretical and anyway dubiously Christian. But in fact people did sing it and, unknown to me, it touched a chord … Anyway, it’s the sort of Christianity I believe in. I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance.” [source]

Yes. A completely appropriate hymn for a Catholic mass.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • ignorant-redneck

    Don’t forget, when you read all the wverses, those in the latter part of the song draw on Gnosticism and the various gnostic scriptures (such as the so called “Gospel of Thomas”) it is infact heretical.

    • James H, London

      Forgive my stupidity. I was under the impression the last verse was:

      They cut me down and I leaped up high,
      I am the Life that’ll never, never die.
      I’ll live in you if you’ll live in Me,
      I am the Lord of the Dance, said He.

  • Jeanne Jorgensen

    You might be interested in this new book(from The Chant Cafe blog… http://www.chantcafe.com/2012/04/doing-something-about-it.html )
    “In a few weeks, you will begin seeing some announcements for two books we are now finishing up. The first is Words With Wings, a program for children’s chant with a workbook and teacher’s manual. It was first conceived of by Netherlands conductor Wilko Brouwers. Then it was translated and adapted for English by Arlene Oost-Zinner.It is the first modern curriculum for schools and parishes to use to build up children’s choirs. It takes the great wisdom of the past and renders it in contemporary language. It permits kids to learn how to sing using chant, and forms them and shapes them into real singers who can sing at Mass. These books are short, lucid, easy to use.It’s a new beginning for children’s voices in Catholic liturgy. We dare not neglect this task. There can be no real future for the chant until children are heavily involved in the project. But until now, all the material we’ve had to work with was dated and a bit dusty. Worse, they presumed a world that does not exist, one in which kids were in school in dedicated choir programs every single day of the year. This is not our world, as we well know.”

  • Mark Abeln

    The Pied Piper  — who led the children of a town into a cave, where they were killed. 

  • Michael O’Keefe

    Simple Gifts, the melody of “The Lord of the Dance”, is the perfect American hymn.  No specific references to God, just vague spiritual references.. 

     BTW, while this is hideous and I don’t approve of “Lord of the Dance” at all for Mass, there are worse things they could be doing.  Really.  At least the lyrics , while not intended by the author to be Christian, can be seen as an allegory describing what God has done for us.   They could be doing “Let There be Peace on Earth” or “Go Forth Among the People”. {shudder}

  • Daria Sockey

    Given the literal mindedness of children, and the way our culture views dancing, the lyrics are kind of sacriligeous even if not heretical.  

  • maizie13

    Oh that is bad!

  • Kit15

    Heretical it may be but it was my favorite “church song” when I was a kid because it was more upbeat then the others (and I didn’t know any better).

    Eventually Mom started going to the “crack of dawn” Mass where they don’t sing at all.  :p

    • Kit15

       …and my “Mom started going” I mean “Mom dragged us out of bed to take us”

    • Jeanne G.

      I liked it as a child too. It has a great beat and you can dance to it… I didn’t know better either!

  • Jeromeleo

    I hope that “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” was really a prayer. It always upsets me to hear their names used as an exclamation.

  • http://sainteasy.blogspot.com/ Paige

    yeah, we definitely sang this this morning at Mass. It must have been in the rubrics for this week. 

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

    And a cowardly anon reply isn’t childish? Good grief, grow up. 

  • Christine Falk Dalessio

    We need a do-over. Musically liturgical do-over, that is. I’m not even sure that would count as “prays twice” even if you sang it twice…

  • Apstemp

    Perhaps its in the rendition.  I like this version accompanied  with a cold Guiness

  • Apstemp

     Perhaps its in the rendition.  I like this version accompanied  with a cold Guiness

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxqdATYOpIM

  • Chris_schult

    Lord of the dance is the WORST! the tune sucks, and it completely trivializes Christ’s passion. This song alone makes me want to burn the gather hymnal!

  • James H, London

    Katrina, have you ever actually read the actual words to Lord of the Dance?

    I think you’ll search in vain for any mention of Shiva.


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