Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bono, Frances, and Hymnody

On this "April Showers" evening, as we sang "Take My Life and Let It Be" (Havergal, 1874) at our Wednesday evening worship service, it occurred to me that some of the lyrics were reminiscent of a more contemporary tune.  In fact, having read Conversations with Bono in the last year, I am familiar with his spiritual inclinations and Judeo-Christian beliefs.  That, of course, is another blog entirely.  However, it did not come as a surprise to me that a century-old hymn just might have inspired "Yahweh" (U2, 2004).  Consider these words.

*Havergal in italics, Bono in bold*

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love,
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take these hands,
Teach them what to carry.
Take these hands,
Don't make a fist.

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee

Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill,
Take this city
If it be your will.
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break.

I make no attempt to hide my appreciation for hymns and their timeless truths.  The more I sing these robust words, the more I learn about their history, the deeper goes my appreciation.  My admiration for those who could pen so eloquently, and so adequately capture, the weight of glory, the vastness of His creation, and the boundless love that He has for us, increases with each note played.  Theirs is a gift.

Admittedly, I am delighted by the fact that a hymn nearly 150 years old could motivate, quite obviously (in my humble opinion) as the musical "proof" above demonstrates, an iconic singer-songwriter to jot down the bold words.  Words composed in 1874 are still relevant--and radical--in 2004.  And, in 2015.  

I suppose that the truth never goes out of style.  


  1. I share in your deep love and appreciation for hymns! Love when you post hymn lyrics :)

  2. Thanks for reading, sweetie. I appreciate you!