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Hymnody on social issues

The concern of the Church about the problems of living in society has a long history, reflected in its hymnody. In the Magnificat* (Luke 1:46-55) Mary celebrated God her Saviour, who ‘hath put down the mighty from their seats, and hath exalted the humble and meek’; and the concern of the Old Testament prophets for the establishing of a just and fair order of society has been the source of much significant later writing on the subject. A hymn such as Albert Bayly*’s ‘What does the Lord require’*, for example, is based on Micah 6:6-8: Do justly, Love mercy; Walk humbly with your God. Bayly’s 20th-century vision, therefore, follows a long tradition, although it was...

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