STLT#7, The Leaf Unfurling

The leaf unfurling in the April air,
the newborn child, the loving parents’ care;
these constant, common miracles we share:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

All life is one, a single branching tree,
all pain a part of human misery,
all happiness a gift to you and me:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The self-same bells for joy and sorrow ring.
No one can know what the next hour will bring.
We cry, we laugh, we mourn, and still we sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!

While I was waiting for my coffee to brew this morning, I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone, nearly ever post about last night’s presidential debate. I found myself – as is all too frequent these days – feeling a mix of sadness, fear, outrage, and frustration, a hard way to start a day, especially when the feelings are rooted not in personal crisis but in a larger, existential weltschmerz.

As I took my first sip of that miracle brew, I opened the hymnal to today’s entry – and as I read the first lines, I breathed for maybe the first time since I hit the on button on the coffeemaker. I realized what a gift spiritual practice is, for just reading this lyric brought me back to myself, brought me back to the enormity of life, reminded me that particular events – whether happening to just me or to the whole nation – are just blips in the vast grandeur that is life.

Interdependent web indeed.

On a musical note, this is another hymn I am unfamiliar with – it’s got some unexpected intervals that may make more sense with the accompaniment, so it’s not entirely intuitive to sing. However, I want to really learn it, because I would hate for such poetry to go unsung. It also dawns on me that this would be a fine substitution to “We Laugh, We Cry”, which I am honestly quite tired of.

Grateful for this practice this morning. Grateful for music and how it awakens the soul. Grateful for the music makers.

Words by Dan Cohen
Music by John Corrado

  1. […] hymn was written by John Corrado, who was our lyricist way back in the first week. I should note that the original lyric used the phrase “in dark and rain”; our hymnal […]

  2. I have just discovered your website since i am on a journey to quilt hymns in journal quilts 8.5 ” X 11″. In our original church at First Parish Lexington we sang this often since it was written by Don Cohen, the husband of the Senior Minister I think for her ordination or installation in the early 1908s. However, we always sang it to a different tune , I think #103 For All the Saints. It caused confusion several times because it was listed as #7 but everyone sang a different tune. Glad to have found your site.

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