Hymn by Hymn

STLT#188, Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Ear Worm Alert!

This round is so common in Unitarian Universalist circles it’s hard to remember that in the scheme of things, it’s only about as old as the grey hymnal itself. Yet here it is, a standard welcoming song, even if it’s incomplete.

As my beloved colleague Lynn Ungar originally wrote it, this setting also includes a descant that captures perhaps the most important line of this Rumi verse: “Though you’ve broken your vows a thousand times.” To me, it’s the key to the verse – the chance to start anew. That no matter who we are and what we’ve been though, we can come back to this place, where we can find healing and comfort and inspiration.

Come, come, whoever you are,
wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
Ours is no caravan of despair.
Come, yet again come.

I don’t think it’s a mistake that this one came up on Palm Sunday, either. I haven’t thought deeply about the connection yet, but it feels right that on the day we remember Jesus’s coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and ‘poke the bear’ of the institutions, I am singing a song that could in fact be his message too.

Fascinating how the universe works sometimes, eh?

“K21 Street” – painting by Jackie Carpenter.

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