Hymning the Text

PLAYDATES

[Lent] – February 21-27, 2016

Hymning the Text

Biblical Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Guidelines for Individual Playdates

 

Value of This Activity:

Writing lyrics pushes our minds into a different form of thought than when we are trying to explain a text logically. Writing lyrics to a hymn-tune presses our thought into a metric (measured) pattern. Sometimes we discover things when we are “forced” into a pre-determined pattern.

Items Needed:

Bible. Pen and Paper. Hymnal, if available

To Begin . . .

Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.

How to Play . . .

  1. Either using a hymnal or your own memory, select a hymn tune that you know well. A simple hymn will be easiest to use for this exercise. Sing or hum the hymn aloud to yourself a couple of times through so you have the tune and the rhythm of the hymn firmly in your mind.

    Some example hymn-tunes to use: “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Blest Be the Tie that Binds,” The Doxology, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Jesus Love Me,” “Let Us Break Bread Together”

  2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.
  3. Using the hymn tune you selected in Step 1, write a verse for that selected tune using material from 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.

    Use the same meter (beats per line) and rhyme structure of the hymn if you can. You do not need to maintain any of the original hymn-text’s words or emphases. You are writing a wholly new hymn-text, just using the hymn-tune.

    The field is wide open here! If the text is a narrative, replay some or all of the narrative in your verse. If the text uses imagery or metaphors, build a verse around just those metaphors. You do not have to replicate the biblical text, simply use the text to trigger your mind into reflection.

    Feel free to make big mistakes. Just play with it. Get it wrong. Get it right. Neither of those things matter. Play with the words, the images, the ideas. Press those words, images, ideas into the shape of the hymn-tune.

  4. Ideally, write a second verse, but this time drawn from your own spiritual experience. Stay with whatever theme you established in your first verse, but write a verse from your own experience or for our own time.
  5. If you dare … close by singing your new hymn! (Please dare!)

In Closing . . .

Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.


Playdate Reference Material:

Poetry As a Mode of Thought
Guidelines for Individual Playdates
Playdates with Scripture Email ARCHIVES


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Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.


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