Today in church we sang my husband's favorite hymn: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (aka Ode to Joy).
Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee
God of Glory, Lord of Love
It just so happens that this week we also have visiting us a dear friend who is the artistic director of a theatre I worked with in Los Angeles. We worked on a show together for elementary school students teaching tolerance, and we happened to sing a song to the same tune, called Ode to Parents (by the fabulous Mr. Billy Aronson). It used to be I couldn't sing the old hymn without thinking of this newer version because I was performing it on a regular basis in cafetoriums around southern California. But it has actually been quite a while since I've even thought of it. Until today, of course, when I began grinning wildly in the midst of singing the hymn.
One or two, a mom and dad, or mom and mom , or three or two,
All that matters in a parent is they love and care for you.
Man, woman, father or mother, long as they're glad to be around,
Who cares if they make their pee-pee standing up or sitting down?
(insert a room full of giggling students here)
And it struck me, in the way that things strike you many years after you've stopped even thinking about them, that the tie between this old hymn and this silly song about parents is more than just an old Beethoven tune. It's love. The thing that has always, always, always, impressed me about God is that God Is Love (1 John 4:8) And the most I have ever understood that unconditional, all consuming love is when I look at my daughter, my child.
There are lots of different ways to be a parent, to make a family, and that's what Ode to Parents is all about. A family does not have to be a mom, a dad, 2.5 children and a pet. A family is made when any adult loves and cares for a child under their protection. A family is born of Love.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.