Opinion: Why my church is done singing David Haas’s songs

Christian Century

August 28, 2020

By Melissa Florer-Bixler

It’s not because we don’t believe in grace.

I find myself, from time to time, with a song running through my head:

Rejoice and be glad:
Blessed are you. Holy are you.
Rejoice and be glad:
Yours is the kingdom of God.

This song has anchored me through seasons of catastrophe for people at the margins of power. Its words, from Jesus’ beatitudes, remind me that those who suffer oppression are the bearers of God’s reign.

Now, when I sing “Blest Are They” I catch myself and wince.

The song I find myself humming was written by David Haas, a prolific Catholic songwriter whose influence extends to the Mennonite church I pastor. There are at least five Haas compositions that my church regularly sings as part of worship. Some people in my church refer to these as “heart songs.”

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