STLT#369, This is the Truth That Passes Understanding

The truth that passes understanding right now is how it’s been a year already.

A year ago today, I started this spiritual practice. At the time I thought I’d reflect a little on my own experience of singing and maybe have some interesting conversations with some friends who noticed. I did not anticipate this becoming a Thing, with musicology and literary analysis and providing indices and categorizations. I most certainly did not anticipate the number of people following, the great and funny and insightful comments (here and on Facebook), nor the friendships with members of the STLT hymnal commission, from whom I’ve learned so much about and beyond the hymns.

To all of you – frequent or infrequent readers – thank you.

The practice continues, of course… after today there are still 45 more pieces in this hymnal, then another 75 in Singing the Journey. What happens in February after it’s complete is still a question, but for now, let’s turn our attention to today’s hymn.

Another entry in the praise and doxologies section, this Robert Weston verse, set to the old Geneva Psalter tune Donne Secours, is both hopeful and haunting. I suppose, of course, if the words had been set to a different tune, it would be less haunting – this one is minor and slow. I don’t have a suggestion – the few tunes in this 11.10.11.10 meter I listened to are all minor and slow. But it’s possible.

Anyway, here are the lyrics:

This is the truth that passes understanding,
this is the joy to all forever free:
life springs from death and shatters every fetter,
and winter turns to spring eternally.

Is it me, or does this seem to be a little confusing? In my mind, I’m back to the Hymn by Hymn Extra I did with Michael Tino wherein we talk about how Spring is not Easter. Here we’re three lines in, and it’s all good Universalist theology, and then boom, it’s back to nature in a metaphor that doesn’t really work for me. The seasons are not the same as eschatology.

And I’m not sure when or how I would use this – certainly not as a doxology, perhaps as a choral response at a memorial service for someone who wanted some theology but not too much because they sometimes eschewed Sunday services in favor of hikes.

I will tell you one truth that doesn’t pass my understanding – I have a bright future ahead of me as a curmudgeon. 🙂

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