Monday, December 19, 2016

Simple rhymes

Last night I went to the Transitional Cathedral's Nine Lessons and Carols Service. Very good it was too.

One of the carols the choir sang is cited below. As they sang and I followed the words, I was struck by how simple the rhyming poetry was, yet profound the theology expressed in its simplicity.

What do you think?

The words ultimately are "traditional" but this version and its music were Arranged by George Whitehead (1848-1934).

Up Good Christian Folk

Ding dong, ding:
Up good Christian folk,
and listen how the merry church bells ring
and from steeple
bid good people
come adore the newborn King

Tell the story
how from glory
God came down at Christmastide.
Bringing gladness,
chasing sadness.
Show'ring blessings far and wide.

Born of mother,
blest o'er other,
Ex Maria Virgine.
In a stable
('tis no fable).
Christus natus hodie.

Postscript: with H/T to Brian Kelly, I send you to Ian Paul's fascinating sermon on (among other things) the "stable" is a fable (though see also my comment below).

4 comments:

Brian Kelly said...

"In a stable
('tis no fable)."

Well, it is if you follow Kenneth Bailey ('Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes' - the ideas are summarised by Ian Paul in a recent Psephizo post) and most commentators on the meaning of kataluma in Luke 2.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
Yes, Ian Paul is "touting" the, stable is a fable line!
I assume the carol writer, however, is talking about the reality of Jesus' being born in human flesh: it is no fable.

Brian Kelly said...

Quite so. But for the avoidance of doubt, I shall sing this version:

Born of mother,
blest o'er other,
Ex Maria Virgine.
Descendant of Ruth
(that's the truth).
Christus natus hodie.

Father Ron said...

Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of The Church' Pray for us sinners!