My dad was a big fan of westerns. He was an avid watcher of The High Chaparral and Bonanza. He talked about Little Joe and Hoss, like they were mates he drank with in his local. He’d watch all the films too, from The Dirty Dozen and The Outlaw Josey Wales to more fun musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Calamity Jane.
I spotted a ‘modern’ western in the TV Guide one time and suggested he watch it. “The Quick and the Dead, Da” I said. “Not sure what that means, but it’s supposed to be a good one.”
“It means you’re either dead or alive,” he replied, without even looking up from his newspaper.
“So to be quick means to be alive? How’s that?”
That conversation is the only reason I understood that line from the epic hymn ‘And Can it Be’
I love those old hymns, with big tunes and deep theology. The language is not always accessible and lines like – ‘Thine eye diffused a quickening ray…’ can, at first, mean little to the hearer. I knew what it meant tho, cos my da told me that to be quick is to be alive. :)
Even though the meaning is the same, the context is a bit different from the movie to the hymn. To be quick is to live, but to me quickened, is to be made alive. pastorhistorian.com has a whole blog post devoted to the hymn and says, ‘The language of quickening or “making alive” is present in the Authorized Version of Ephesians 2:1 and 4. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; . . . Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” The quickening of the sinner resulted in a dungeon now inflamed with light, chains being broken, and a free heart.”
Being quickened is not just living – it’s living free, living full, living fast – but not loose! ;)