If I had a hammer I'd hammer in the morning I'd hammer in the evening All over this land I'd hammer out danger I'd hammer out a warning I'd hammer out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land
In the 1950s and 1960s the song, If I Had a Hammer, was popularised by a number of artistes – The Weavers, Trini Lopez, Sam Cooke and Peter, Paul and Mary. It’s quite a catchy tune, such a message of faith, of hope, and most importantly of love, for love is the greatest of these.
Seems a bit odd that love might be associated with a hammer, wouldn’t you say? As a woman who was in her teens when the Berlin Wall came down, and the USSR was no more, growing up seeing the ‘hammer and sickle’, didn’t lead me to associate the hammer with love.
I appreciate, though, why this song, written during a season of much civil tension, would associate love with a hammer. You see, a hammer is a tool of industry. Who can enjoy love without actively working at it? A hammer is a tool that you must hold in your hand. No hammer can be used effectively without taking a firm grip of it. Who can enjoy love without getting intimate with it?
If I had a bell I'd ring it in the morning, I'd ring it in the evening, All over this land. I'd ring out danger I'd ring out a warning I'd ring out the love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land.
The second verse of the song begins, ‘If I had a bell’. Now, I can more readily associate a bell with love. When you experience love, not just romantic love, you want the world to know, don’t you? And when you have love to share, you share it liberally and unhesitatingly, and the world sees that. Love cannot be hidden. Love is a reputation that precedes you. The effects of love linger. And, just like a ringing bell, love doesn’t strike once and go silent – it ripples throughout the land. Yes, If I had a bell, I would certainly ring out love between my brothers and sisters all over this land, and all over this virtual world.
If I had a song, I'd sing it in the morning, I'd sing it in the evening All over this land. I'd sing out danger. I'd sing out a warning, I'd sing out love between My brothers and my sisters All over this land.
Maybe I could use a song to sing out love between my brothers and sisters. Yes, I would sing it tirelessly. I would sing it in the morning and in the evening. Certainly, I wouldn’t stop singing until there was love between my brothers and my sisters all over this world. Love, you see, requires ceaseless and tireless effort. Love even means taking the chance whether or not it is returned. True love does not flow whether or not the other person can or even knows how to receive it. So, yes, I would sing out love between my brothers and sisters all over this land – in the morning and in the evening.
The final verse of the song goes:
This is the song I must sing: the song of love between my brothers and sisters all over this land. It’s a song of love – a song that compels me towards justice; a song that binds me in freedom. The captive goes free in the face of love and the oppressed enjoy the balance of justice in the sight of love.
Now I invite you: make my joy complete, won’t you? Join me as I go all over this land, hammering out a song, ringing out a tune, and most importantly, singing out a song of love between my brothers and sisters, all over this land, in the morning and in the evening!
Until next time, hammer, ring and sing out love, won’t you? And tell me the difference it makes for others and the difference it makes in you.