Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is this Place?

About an hour ago I got back from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship – ELW – event. My North Park contingent split early, right after dinner and in fact, maybe an hour into the 7-hour long presentation I'd said to Maria, "This [presentation] is really terrible" and she agreed. I live about a 2-minute walk from the church that hosted us and the catered dinner was wonderful, so it amounted to nothing lost and a little gained.

Besides getting my very own copy of the book, which features a gracefully dynamic cross on its Reformation Red cover, I discovered at least one of the new to me hymns is a winner, #524, "What Is This Place." One of the presenters told us the song long has been popular in Mennonite and Brethren churches. The tune, from Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck (1626) is Kömt nu met Zang, with Huub Oosterhuis' text translated by David Smith.
  1. What is this place where we are meeting? Only a house, the earth its floor.
    Walls and a roof sheltering people, windows for light, an open door.
    Yet it becomes a body that lives when we are gathered here, and know our God is near.

  2. Words from afar, stars that are falling, sparks that are sown in us like seed:
    names for our God, dreams, signs and wonders sent from the past are all we need.
    We in this place remember and speak again what we have heard:
    God's free redeeming word.

  3. And we accept bread at this table, broken and shared, a living sign.
    Here in this world, dying and living, we are each other's bread and wine.
    This is the place where we can receive what we need to increase:
    our justice and God's peace.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karla here:D I "think" I know this hymn, but I'm not sure if the tune I'm hearing in my head is correct...I'll have to check the hymnal. As I read these words, I agree...they are beautiful. I don't recall ever playing this for any of the churches I've been in, but there's something very familiar...I'm getting that deja vu effect! Hmmm...and if I'm not thinking of the correct tune, it's nice to know the words will set with other melodies! ;) Hmmm...always the musician, huh? LOL! And I know you "get that!" --K

mark said...

we were informed that the color of the cover is "cranberry."

Anonymous said...

I love that hymn because it brings memories of the only place I have sung it: our wonderful lay-led eucharistic community in Portland, The Journey Will Name Us Catholic Community. (They do a lot of stuff imported from the Low Countries, much recent and some rediscovered like this one). Thanks for bringing a smile to my face with the mention.

Anonymous said...

Looking for a downloadable copy of the melody and lyrics if you could help me. stjohnssecretary@windstream.net