Also known by the hymn title, “Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life.” I overheard it being sung when my wife tuned into a diocesan bicentennial Mass a few days ago. Serendipitously, Richard Clark puts his best into this rendering which popped up on my social media feed earlier today. It might be two decades since I’ve used this hymn in a worship setting.
I’ve been thinking about liturgical music I’ve “lost” over the years–pieces that were much-loved in other parishes I’ve served, but that I haven’t played or sung in many years. Maybe this will turn into another occasional series. There’s a lot of great church music available to us today–easily more than in any other era of Western history. The test is: we have to look for it. And recognize it.
I was first introduced to Vaughn-Williams’ Five Mystical Songs during my grad school era. My voice teacher assigned me one, and years later, when I arrived in my first parish, the newly-minted associate pastor requested it. Lo! It was in the hymnal:
Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way, as gives us breath:
Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
Such a Life, as killeth death.
Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a Light, as shows a feast:
Such a Feast, as mends in length:
Such a Strength, as makes his guest.
Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a Joy, as none can move:
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joys in love.
Easily my favorite of the George Herbert texts set in the song cycle. So simple and elegant. It strength lies in how many different genres and interpretations can successfully communicate the words.
For a different take, I favor this contemporary setting which includes a video integral to the interpretation.
If still images are your thing (as they are mine) I think Jesus’ day in the house of Martha and Mary (above, Luke 10:38-42) reflects this text as well as any Gospel story.