CCM and Beatles Mantra

As I was driving home the other day from teaching, the radio played George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” In my mind, I found an eerie resemblance between this Hindu mantra and many worship songs sung in churches, such as “Forever” by Michael W. Smith:

My Sweet Lord by George Harrison Forever by Michael W. Smith
Chorus 1: My sweet lord
Hmm, my lord
Hmm, my lord

Chorus 2: I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you lord
But it takes so long, my lord

[Chorus 1]
[Chorus 2, with hallelujah]
[Chorus 1, with hallelujah]
[Chorus 2, with hallelujah]
[Chorus 1, with hallelujah]
[Chorus 2, with hallelujah]
[Chorus 1 (with hallelujah]


Hm, my lord (hare krishna)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet lord (krishna, krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare hare)

 

Now, I really want to see you (hare rama)
Really want to be with you (hare rama)
Really want to see you lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)
[Repeated 9X to other Hindu gods]

(hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)

Note:“Hallelujah!” is a strong command to “praise (hallelu) Yah(weh)!”

Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever
For the life that’s been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

[Chorus]: Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever and ever, forever (2X)

From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
And by the grace of God we will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

[Chorus]

His love endures forever (8X)
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise

[Chorus]

Notes: The song attempts to paraphrase Psalm 136. However,
(1) “From the rising to the setting sun, his love endures forever” is not what verses 7-9 mean.
(2) The song does not tell what is meant by, “With a mighty hand and outstretched arm,” which usually refers to God’s powerful redemption of Israel from Egypt.
(3) “For the life that’s been reborn” is nowhere in Psalm 136.

Compare this CCM mantra with Psalm 136 and its metrical version in the 1635 Scottish Psalter:

Psalm 136 (English Standard Version) Psalm 136 from the 1635 Scottish Psalter
(Verses 1-12, 23-26) • Sing – Constance
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

 

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

1 Give thanks to God, for good is he:
for mercy hath he ever.
2 Thanks to the God of gods give ye:
for his grace faileth never.
3 Thanks give the Lord of lords unto:
for mercy hath he ever.
4 Who only wonders great can do:
for his grace faileth never.

5 Who by his wisdom made heav’ns high:
for mercy hath he ever.
6 Who stretch’d the earth above the sea:
for his grace faileth never.
7 To him that made the great lights shine:
for mercy hath he ever.
8 The sun to rule till day decline:
for his grace faileth never.

9 The moon and stars to rule by night:
for mercy hath he ever.
10 Who Egypt’s first-born kill’d outright:
for his grace faileth never.
11 And Isr’el brought from Egypt land:
for mercy hath he ever.
12 With stretch’d-out arm, and with strong hand:
for his grace faileth never.

23 In our low state who on us thought:
for he hath mercy ever.
24 And from our foes our freedom wrought:
for his grace faileth never.
25 Who doth all flesh with food relieve:
for he hath mercy ever.
26 Thanks to the God of heaven give:
for his grace faileth never.
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