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  • Ann Iona Warner

Who Cares?

Updated: Feb 6


Who cares?

If men go to hell, who cares?

I’ll wait a few minutes as you go through all the ways that can be said.

Sarcastically.

Woefully.

Shruggingly.

Joyfully.

Questioningly.

"If Men Go to Hell, Who Cares?" is the name of a hymn written in 1939 by E.M. Bartlett.

While the world rushes on in its folly and sin

And millions go down in despair

To reign where demons are shrieking within

If men go to hell, who cares?

While the people of earth are forgetting the Lord

And church pews are empty and bare;

There comes to my heart these pitiful words,

If men go to hell, who cares?

And if that’s not enough to lift your spirit, there's the chorus:

Who cares, (who cares), who cares (who cares),

O Lord, who cares?

While the world rushes on in sin to despair;

If men go to hell, who cares?

Not a very uplifting hymn, so far, is it?

There are several versions of the hymn available for viewing on YouTube.

My favorite is the one done in the original harmony of the piece. It's part of a program called "Weird Hymn Sing," so the level of seriousness is at question. But the harmony is a bit woeful and sets the mood for the text.

There is a jazz/blues version, which offers a mournful feel.

There is a version that ignores the melody altogether and puts the words to a musical mash-up of House of the Rising Sun and Jolene.

There is a version done by a church choir, with full piano accompaniment. It's not mournful. It's not sorrowful. It’s not happy. It's just a regular 4-part choir piece, done with no emotion at all.

It's an odd song. It asks a question, but the answer is buried in the rest of the text, and then almost negated by the chorus.

Yes, the Father who sent His dear Son to this earth,

All our sins and our burdens to bear;

He has counted the cost and He knows what they're worth,

If men go to hell, who cares?

And the Son who was willing to die on the cross,

The burdens of lost men to bear;

The One who has suffered for all who are lost,

If men go to hell, who cares?

The Spirit, the Bride, and true Christians say come,

For all who are lost is their pray'r;

The demons in hell send a warning back home,

If men go to hell, who cares?

All together now with the chorus:

Who cares, (who cares), who cares (who cares),

O Lord, who cares?

While the world rushes on in sin to despair;

If men go to hell, who cares?

The church choir decided to be more forthcoming with the answer. During the last chorus, they sing, "We care, we care..." While that's a nice sentiment, it's not what the hymn is saying.

The hymn doesn't say WE care. It says the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit care. That's the message we share each year during Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, "the one who has suffered for all who are lost."

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)

Who cares?

God cares.

- Ann Iona Warner

Please join us for our remaining Wednesday evening Taize service tonight at 6:30, and next Wednesday for a carol/hymn sing. Christmas Eve service will be Tuesday, December 24, 7 pm.


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St. Stephen's 

Lutheran Church

To Love, To Invite, To Serve

 

1301 N Broom Street Wilmington, DE 19806

302-652-7623  office@ststeph.org

As a Reconciling in Christ congregation of the ELCA, we believe that the gospel is God's gift to all people, shared unconditionally and without regard to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic or family status, age, physical or mental abilities, outward appearance, or religious affiliation. We seek to live the truth written in Ephesians that Christ breaks down the dividing walls between us and makes us one.

 

© 2020 St. Stephen's Lutheran Church. All rights reserved.

St. Stephen's Lutheran Church

1301 N Broom Street, Wilmington, DE 19806

302-652-7623 office@ststeph.org

 

We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Delaware-Maryland Synod.

 

 

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