Preface

It has been said that a faith that cannot Sing is no faith at all. It is my hope that these hymns and songs which have arisen out of the song in my own heart will join with the song in your heart and so add to the all embracing song of the Universe. However, if you are merely looking for hymns which cry "peace, peace" when there is no peace, this book may not be for you. The famous American composer Aaron Copland railed against people who used music as a couch. "Music" he said, "should wake us up not put us to sleep."

The hymns in The Mystery Telling attempt to help us to be alert to some of the critical issues facing the human race in this new millennium. These include environmental concerns, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the need to hold together both globalization and the value of one's own particular culture, religion or system of morality. For Christians one of the most challenging concerns must be the ever increasing distance between the emerging world view, supported by the frontiers of science, and that within which traditional Christianity is set. In the face of this and the accompanying decline of Christianity in many Western cultures, I believe we need to distinguish clearly between, on the one hand, dogma, images, and definitions and, on the other, the mystery which we call God—that which we glimpse through a glass darkly (1 Cor. 13:12).

Fortunately, part of the new science is an affirmation that what we do not know will always exceed what we do. In other words, we are surrounded by mystery. I have chosen The Mystery Telling as the title for this book because, coming as it does from one of the Eucharistic hymns of Thomas Aquinas, it serves as a link between medieval Christianity and contemporary expressions of faith. It is my firm belief that through recovering the awareness of the mystery of God we will move to a deeper level of faith. It is this Epiphany which will enable us to walk with Christ into the challenging and largely unchartered waters of the 21st century. We will then be able to say with Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1280) "the day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw all things in God and God in all things."

May this be the experience of all who sing this book
William L. Wallace (Bill) Christchurch
Aotearoa/New Zealand Easter 2001

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