STLT#269, Lo, the Day of Days Is Here

This is a first: I don’t think I have ever done a spiritual practice on an airplane, no less one that requires making noise and annoying other passengers. The good news is that I am surrounded by fellow Unitarian Universalists on our way home from General Assembly, and my immediate seat mate sang along with me for a moment. (The other good news is that tomorrow we’ll be back on the morning schedule.)

I feel like I want to wait to talk deeply about the theology of this one for when Michael Tino and I have our Easter/spring theological conversation later this week. But I should note that the last line of the first verse is “nature wakes from seeming death” – a line that is awfully laden with a theological perspective that takes all the mystery out of the moment.

And here’s the truth, for me, anyway. This is a great hymn to sing, and it’s awfully fun for the season of Easter, which coincides within a few weeks of the spring equinox. But it is not an Easter Hymn.

Anyway… we will continue this debate on what is resurrection is and isn’t. Meanwhile, from 30,000 feet above the earth, here are the lyrics, by Frederick Lucian Hosmer:

Lo, the day of days is here, Alleluia!
Festival of hope and cheer! Alleluia!
At the south wind’s genial breath — Alleluia!
Nature wakes from seeming death, Alleluia!

Fields are smiling in the sun, Alleluia!
Loosened streamlets seaward run, Alleluia!
Tender blade and leaf appear; Alleluia! ‘Tis the spring-tide of the year, Alleluia!

Lo, the Eastertide is here, Alleluia!
Music thrills the atmosphere. Alleluia!
Join, you people all, and sing — Alleluia!
Love and praise and thanksgiving, Alleluia!

I do really like these lyrics, by Unitarian minister Frederick Hosmer, which capture the joy of the day. We’ve seen plenty of his work, in Now While the Day in Trailing Splendor, I Walk the Unfrequented Road, I Cannot Think of Them as Dead, From Age to Age, Forward Through the Ages, as well as tomorrow’s hymn, O Day of Light and Gladness, and Thursday’s O Prophet Souls of All the Years. Somehow, except for the one I really don’t like, I have been remiss in noting our lyricist, and that’s a shame, because we have from Hosner mostly wonderful lyrics, and they continue to be meaningful to me. So here’s to you, Frederick Lucian Hosmer. Thanks!

And while the text could easily be sung to the traditional Easter Hymn (see yesterday), I like that we have an alternative setting with Llanfair; it’s similar but distinct enough to set it apart with another dose of joy. Plus, who doesn’t want to sing alleluias in all shapes and forms? (I admit here and now, I’m a sucker for alleluias. Something about a word of praise, set over and over in simple and complex settings, that just gets me going.)

Anyway – it’s a great song for Eastertide, even though it’s maybe not really an Easter Hymn.

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