Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lullay Lullay

When the church is quiet I like to sit at the piano to play and sing.  Usually it is a time of worship for me.  I sing and play uninhibited--mistakes and off key as I am! 

This afternoon I found a simple sheet music version of Coventry Carol.  I had never paid much attention to the words but Pandora played it a few nights ago and I heard Herod's name this time.  So I paid attention:

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

According to Wikipedia, Coventry Carol is a 15th century carol from a play called The Pageant of Shearman and Sailors.  The carol refers to the Massacre of the Innocents and represents a mother singing for her doomed child.  Since Friday I haven't been able to get Herod's murder of the innocents out of my head. 

Many have written thoughtful reflections in response to the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook.  I don't have anything new to add; only that I mourn with those who mourn.  And playing and singing Coventry Carol helps me do that.

At the end of each verse there is resolution to the dissonance. Even though the chord is hopeful it is hard to hear.  It is hard to hear over such lamentations. 

The psalmists have much to teach us, and one of those things is singing our laments. Most lament psalms end with hope--even when the lament is spelled out in the most desolate of words.  Even with tears in its eyes. 

Today I sung my laments at the piano, and even though hope was hard to hear--it is there.  It is there because God in Christ is there.  Is here. 



  1. So true, so very, very true. Hope seems so out of place during times of great sorrow and pain, but yet there it is. It still remains. Waiting for us to catch of glimpse of it through our tears. Hope waits for us, but it never goes away.

  2. Jon, I like how you said it: Hope waits for us, but it never goes away. Thanks for your comment.