Thursday, August 11, 2016

#NOwar Music: Sometimes you hear it in church

Is your church community raising its voice against war and nuclear weapons? If not, why not?

Shirley Erena Murray
I got a jolt when I looked closely at the bulletin in the church service at University Lutheran Chapel a few weeks ago*. It called my attention to the hymn of the day, by New Zealander Shirley Erena Murray, particularly these words:

2 We who endanger,
who create hunger,
agents of death for all creatures that live,
we who would foster
clouds of disaster,

God of our planet, forestall and forgive!
(emphasis added)

The bulletin explained that

The "clouds of disaster" in verse 2 (which is sung in a minor key) refer to nuclear tests carried out by France in the South Pacific, which New Zealand has protested at the United Nations many times.

In fact, the Marshall Islands are currently seeking redress in connection with those tests in international courts: see "MARSHALL ISLANDS HIBAKUSHA: Can social media trump empire and entertainment?"

Coincidentally, just days later people were marking the 71st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with a vigil and protest at the Livermore Labs, near Berkeley, a major site of US nuclear weapons research. The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum, spoke at the event.

2016 Nagasaki Day protest at Livermore nuclear weapons lab
(Image: Margaret Lowry)

Here's the full hymn, "Touch the Earth Lightly":

Read more about the work of Shirley Erena Murray here: "A jolt of reality – the hymns of Shirley Erena Murray."And check an additional hymn by Shirley Erena Murray about the nuclear threat.

* By the way - I really shouldn't be surprised to hear any activist message at ULC Berkeley. See, for instance, "IN BERKELEY: Declaring Sanctuary, Changing Hearts and Minds."

Related posts

AK Songstress connects to the antiwar legacy of world music -- "in the era of legends like Bob Marley, he was always advocating for peace, unity, love and tolerance."

(See Product of Ghana: #NOwar / Pro Peace Music)

An amazing thing that will be happening -- in fact, has already begun happening -- here in Berkeley is a performance of Britten's War Requiem.
(See WAR: Will you hear? Will you perceive? Will you think?)

"We all live in a yellow nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine . . . ."

(See Lady Alba: When Progressive, Antiwar Views Go Viral )

An amazing number of the world's greatest artists are long-time devoted activists for nuclear disarmament and against nuclear power.

(See IT'S SHOW TIME! 2015 Sounds Like "Nuclear Disarmament"! )

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