We Meet You, O Christ - An Anthem by Simon Lole to the words of Fred Kaan
Last Sunday in St Mary’s we heard sung by the choir a new anthem for sopranos, altos and men by Simon Lole. He speaks of it in his musical musings on the St Mary’s Music part of this website. It is a setting of words by Fred Kaan, a Dutchman, educated in Utrecht and Bristol and who became an ordained minister of the Congregational Church in 1955. As Simon says, his texts are always challenging, and they include, perhaps his best-known hymn, “Father, who in Jesus found us, God, whose love is all around us.” Interestingly, this hymn he later changed to “God whose love is all around us, who in Jesus sought and found us.” But, it goes to the same, well-known, tune: Quem Pastores.
The text that Simon is using is deeply incarnational, using images of place and guise, and the description, so loved of Anglo-Saxon theology of the Cross as the “Tree”. Fred Kaan is seeing Christ bearing the agony of the world, as peoples seek freedom and the Tree becomes a source of life, not just a symbol of death. It leaves an uncompromising message with those who listen to the words, or who sing them in choir and congregation. I suspect that this lovely anthem will be much sung in the years to come.