Hail Favored One

I was strangely moved as I came home last night listening to radio and the music being played as President Bush was brought into the Capitol rotunda to lie in state.  He evidently had chosen two hymns that I found fascinating and evocative of faith, trust and eternal well being.  The hymns were “Beautiful Savior” and Luther’s “Mighty Fortress”.

The song most notably tied to a President is “Hail to the Chief” and it is a catchy little ditty that actually has some lyrics which I have found to be rather spiritless when combined with the melody –

Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.

Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, that’s our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President! Hail to the Chief!

Anyway that got me thinking of that word “hail” and the book I have been mentioning to you called “A Little Book On Joy” by Matthew Harrison.  I wrote some songs and put a CD of meditations on the subjects raised in that book and one of the songs has to do with the word “hail”.  According to Harrison “Hail” is a cognate of joy and could be translated “rejoice”.

Luke 1:26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God.

Like a lot of people I know, Mary when hearing a greeting of joy, is troubled and wonders what it means.  Fascinating.