Friday, June 20, 2014

"Morning has broken, like the first morning"

"Morning Has Broken," which is our Friday traditio this week, while made popular by Cat Stevens in the early 1970s, was not composed by him. First and foremost, "Morning Has Broken" is a Christian hymn, with words composed by English writer Eleanor Farjeon. It was first published in 1931. The hymn uses a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune called "Bunessan."

I use this hymn a lot when presiding at Morning Prayer when there is no set program, including no predetermined opening hymn. If every going to sleep is a little death, then every awakening is, in a sense, to arise anew, then resurrection is part of our everyday experience, which gives us true hope, thus not relegating us merely to some exercise in wishing. "Morning Has Broken" captures this well, at least it does for me, just as it helps us sing our longing.

Esther Ofarim, a lovely Yemeni Jewish chanteuse, singing this beautiful song, is our traditio today, which here, along the Wasatch Front, after this week's cooling rain (snow in the higher elevations), is glorious. People who try to force me to choose between one beautiful thing and another beautiful thing (I don't believe anything is more both/and than beauty), are engaging in what I can only describe as a form of spiritual fascism.

Verse 3:
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

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