STLT#405, This Do in Memory of Me

“And I’ll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find.”

We sing this incredible line in Come Sing a Song with Me, which we have acknowledged is simultaneously insipid and profound. And while that one isn’t today’s hymn, it is the line that sings over and over in my head even after singing today’s piece.

You see, yesterday’s lament was part of a greater day of grief, sorrow, and anger. Grief over more lives needlessly lost; sorrow over the many burdens family, friends, and colleagues bear; and anger over the shocking lack of compassion and human decency that has led to these moments – too many moments.

By evening’s end, I had found myself in a hole. I’ll let Leo McGarry explain:

My shout was a simple Facebook post that read “I’m pretty low on hope right now. What’s bringing you hope today?” and at last count 37 people jumped in the hole with me, and shared short and long lists of hope, including a photo of a late autumn rose.

Then this morning, my mentor tweeted this blessing:

And then I opened the hymnal and found more hope, in a beautiful, lyrical version of Luke 22:19-20, a version that meets my own Eucharistic theology and which holds my faith for me when I can’t find it.

This do in memory of me;
eat now this broken bread.
This is my life from death set free,
here on my table spread.

This do in memory of me;
drink now this cup, I said.
This shows my love for all to see,
here on my table spread.

We praise your living memory,
remembering all you said.
Your words and life have set us free,
here through your table spread.

I’m not sure I am whole again or full of hope again, but I am grateful for those who are willing to sing songs of hope and faith back to me when I can’t find it myself grateful for those willing to jump into the hole with me, grateful for those who share sacred moments and holy rituals with me, grateful for those who share a rose with me.

Because I will regret not putting this info here, I’ll share some musical details: Our tune was written by a Yorkshireman, Gordon Slater, who became a church organist and conductor after serving in the first World War. As the Reformed Church in North America’s Psalter Hymnal Handbook notes, the tune was first published in Songs of Praise for Boys and Girls (1930) and named for the church where Slater first served as organist. It’s a lovely and somewhat meditative piece, which works well for our lyrics, by UCC minister and professor Wayne Bradley Robinson.