STLT#264, Now in the Tomb Is Laid

Live from New Orleans – it’s Hymn by Hymn with Friends! Today’s guest is the wonderful Rev. Lyn Cox. 

Lyn and I sat down to sing, and while it looks on paper as though it would be easy to sing, it’s oddly tricky. Thus, I am not sure we had a great singing experience. 

We did, however, have an amazing conversation about this text.  

Now in the tomb is laid,
who in the wide world walked,
and talked with one and all.
Now in the tomb is laid.

Now in the tomb is laid,
who told the sparrow’s worth,
the lily’s praises said.
Now in the tomb is laid.

Perfect, no wound nor mark!
By thine own hardest hour,
do live within my heart.
Perfect, no wound nor mark!

This text was written by Irish poet Padraic Colum to accompany one of the Stations of the Cross statues which appears at St. Thomas’s Roman Catholic Church in Chicago. The tune, by UU music director Gerald Kechley is, well, appropriate but not inspiring to me, anyway. I don’t know what tune you’d put to it – anything I can find in 6.6.6.6 is just…wrong. Too old-timey, too cheerful, too…wrong. So while I don’t love Kechley’s tune, it’s a whole lot better than anything else out there. 

 It does make me think I’d rather use this poem as a reading, not as a hymn. Lyn saw the possibilities of having it sung – and we imagined using it at a tennebrae service or an Easter sunrise service. 

We also found ourselves falling into the trap of universalizing these lyrics, and our conversation, which you can listen to here, explored meaning, interpretation, the language of reverence, and the need for ritual to be witnessed versus experienced. 

Much like yesterday’s time with Monica, sharing this spiritual practice with Lyn has been incredibly rich and meaningful. I am grateful. 

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