Of the many metaphors we use for the Divine, I think Singer of Life is my favorite.
This metaphor taps into something we know about the earth, that it has its own vibrational hum…and when you add all of the living things that have their own hums (and voices and chirps and growls and sighs), not to mention all of the machines humans have built that have their own hums (and chugs and whistles and crunches and rumbles), well, the earth is a noisy place that responds to sound.
And – if quantum mechanics are right and it’s the waves and motion, not the matter, that is the stuff of the universe, then of course we need a Singer to bring us into resonance with ourselves, each other, and the divine.
This lyric, from a poem written in Nahuatl, from the Texcoco region of Mexico, elegantly captures this idea, reminding us to look to the earth to see ourselves.
Singer of Life, all flowers are songs, with petals do you write.
Singer of Life, you color the earth, dazzling the eye with birds red and bright.
Joy is for us! The flowers are spread! Singing is our delight!
Mortal are we, with all living things, with eagles in the sky.
Even all gold and jade will not last; singing alone, I know, cannot die.
Here in this house of springtime bestow songs that like birds can fly.
It is set to a tune from the Dakota tribe, which is haunting and intriguing and offers a level of mystery the text only hints at. It’s got a few intervals Western singers might find unusual, and again, it’s one I would introduce slowly to a congregation.
However, I find the metaphor and the connection to the interdependent web rather appealing, inspiring, and yea, even comforting today.
Singer of life – joy is for us!