Love Makes a Bridge: Not Walls

Love makes a bridge from heart to heart, and hand to hand
Love finds a way when laws are blind, and freedom banned.

Love breaks the walls of language, gender, class, and age.
Love gives us wings to slip the bars of every cage.

Love lifts the hopes that force and fear have beaten down.
Love breaks the chains and gives us strength to stand our ground.

Love rings the bells of wanted birth and wedding day.
Love guides the hands that promise more than words can say.

Love makes a bridge that winds may shake, yet not destroy.
Love carries faith through life and death to endless joy.

Lyrics by Brian Wren, © Hope Publishing Co.

Our theme for September, embodied in this hymn, Love Makes a Bridge, certainly speaks to my mind and heart as I find myself too easily embroiled in presidential politics, controversies stemming from white privilege, oppression of people of color and the LGBTQ communities.  Anger, ignorance, and self-righteousness abound, and I feel them in myself.

But, Love makes a bridge.

The words of this hymn were written by Brian Wren, an internationally known and acclaimed poet, hymn writer, theologian and minister.  Born in Essex, England, his life includes degrees in modern languages, theology and the literature of the Hebrew scriptures.  He was ordained by what is now known as the United Reform Church and is married to a United Methodist Minister, the Rev. Susan M. Heafield.  Before his retirement, Wren served as professor at Colombia Seminary here in Atlanta.

In an interview with the journal Reformed World, Wren stated, “a hymn is a poem, and a poem is a visual art form. The act of reading a hymn aloud helps to recover its poetry and its power to move us—the power of language, image, metaphor, and faith-expression.” Like many famous hymn writers, he knows that hymns are poetry and theology, instead of simply music.  In his book, Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song, he says that the church poet’s ministerial call is not only “to write poems of faith which people will pick up and sing,” but also to “speak truth by stepping beyond the church’s limits of comfort and convention.”  In this, Wren supports our own Unitarian Universalist roots in the prophetic voices of men and women in human history. Wren has devoted a good portion of his work to the issue of inclusive language with particular concern on masculine pronouns and images and how they exclude women and other groups from hymns.

Love breaks the walls of language, gender, class, and age.
Love gives us wings to slip the bars of every cage.

Love lifts the hopes that force and fear have beaten down.
Love breaks the chains and gives us strength to stand our ground.

So, what is this Love that makes bridges and not walls?

Bob Patrick

This entry was posted in Love Makes a Bridge and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Love Makes a Bridge: Not Walls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *