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You Gather In the Outcast

posted Aug 30, 2016, 10:41 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Aug 30, 2016, 10:41 AM ]
The text of “You Gather In the Outcast” was written by Genevieve Glen, OSB, a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, CO, and a highly regarded poet and author of hymn texts. She writes "This hymn depicts the Jesus of the gospels as he continues to be for us now: gathering, healing, encouraging, finding the lost, caring for all needs without stinting. This is the self-giving Christ embodied in the Eucharist.”

It was commissioned by The Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist in Portland, OR in honor of their outreach program.

Its composer, Scot Crandal states “Reading Sr. Genevieve Glen's text literally moved me to tears. I strongly felt that congregations would revel in its meaning and imagery if an accessible melody could be written that enhanced the text's power. Given the text's 76 76 D meter, the melody would need to be lengthy yet I wanted it to be memorable. After considerable revisions based on feedback from various colleagues, the melody arrived at its current form, adding harmony and an accompaniment that work to enhance the text's aesthetic.”

The “meter” Scot refers to is the rhythmic and syllabic structure of a piece of poetry, which is essentially what a hymn is. A hymn with the meter 76 76 has seven syllables in the first line, six in the second, seven in the third, and six in the fourth. The letter D at the end means "double," so then this pattern repeats itself for the fifth through eighth lines. Any hymn that’s in our Breaking Bread will have its meter listed just under it, at the beginning of the line crediting the author of the text. Though songs don’t do this, only hymns...