O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
our spirits by they justice here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
If I could choose a musical companion for this day, I’d spend the whole day humming this tune. And while I’m at it, I’d be mindful of the words of this verse as well.
158 years ago (give or take a few) I studied Music Therapy at Illinois State University. Like seminary years later, this was a time of life-learning for me. My days were spent with generous and kind-hearted souls who wanted to be a part of changing the world for the better. I was so very young then as I look back now. And it’s so obvious to me that many of my most significant life-lessons were learned in those years. The gifts given all those years ago and lessons learned companion me still.
We were taught about getting inside music. Almost as though we were living our music lessons from the inside-out. In so many ways music makes its best sense to our hearts ~ music enters in and can shift our most fearful places. Music is able to un-lock what feels stuck inside. Freeing what was once trapped, music transforms us and can set us free.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer brings a hope for what can be next. What would happen if each of us sang / prayed / hummed this verse throughout the day today? Would we listen out and hear one another amid the hurrying and the scurrying? Would we hear the One who first taught us the tune? And the One who continues to teach us the song?
I know about the gloomy clouds this verse speaks about. I have watched them gather round me and have felt them for a while now. I know about the shadows of death that feel so close; I’ve felt encircled by those shadows wiping out hope and joy.
Songs like this one call out to us ~ they call to our gloomy places and shadow-places. They invite us to breathe just a bit deeper so that we can sing a little louder ~ and be heard above the noise. They call to us and invite us to whistle in the dark. This whistling can be our intention, our daily, spiritual practice.
O Come, O Come invites us into a song that is hundreds of years old and yet still speaking to us this day. It returns us to a melody that matches God’s heart-beat and invites us to listen with our hearts. This ancient tune reminds us (lest we forget) the steps to life’s dance.
Breath Prayer: “Come” “thou Dayspring”
Loving Healer, your compassion for your children knows no bounds. When we see only gloom and darkness, you sing again the melody that calls us back into life’s dance. We give thanks for your song of life. We give thanks for the words that inspire us and the melody that holds us close to you. You are our Dayspring, our Source of light and life. We lean into your lovingkindness and we are ever thankful. Amen.
believes in beginnings and beginning again, in holding on and letting go, in God's presence as close as our next breath. Lesley works as a hospice Bereavement Coordinator in Atlanta. She is an ordained minister in the UCC and has just completed her second book, "Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon in 29 Days" (to be released early in 2015).