Sacred the body God has created
Source: Singing the Faith: 618
Words: Ruth Duck
Music: “Ruddle” by W. Daniel Landes
NOTE: This hymn has been cleared on behalf of the copyright administrator, The Pilgrim Press Permissions Department, for reproduction on local service sheets and also for projection via the Singing the Faith electronic words edition of the hymn book published by Hymns Ancient and Modern. Copyright ownership should be indicated when this hymn is reproduced.
Ideas for use
This is a text that lends itself to a wide range of imaginative interpretation. Its examination of the physical suggests the possiblity of sacred dance or, perhaps, the use of projected images of different kinds of people and physiques – able-bodied and physically challenged, young and old.
The last two verses, in particular, can be used as as statement of belief and accompanying prayer. In a service that is focussing on the gift and challenges of the human body, it might be helpful to sing the whole hymn earlier in the service and speak the last two verses as a closing prayer.
Ruth Duck’s hymn reflects on the idea that we are all made in the image of God and that, because of that, are bodies (and our differences from each other) are holy. She paints a picture of love in action that echoes the example of Jesus as he makes his way towards Jerusalem and his trial before Herod and Pilate: “Love touches gently, never coercing. / Love leaves the other with power to choose.” This makes this a text especially suitable for use in Lent and Holy Week as well as at other times of the year.
Ruth concludes with a prayer: “Holy of holies, God ever loving, / make us your temples; indwell all we do.” The text is set to a lovely lilting melody by W. Daniel Landes, particularly suitable for a guitar or keyboard led accompaniment.