We start this month of Becoming off with Easter and each year it is a blessing to hear our trumpeters resound this joyous holiday. As I grew up in the Unitarian Universalist faith, I always knew the Easter Hymn with Unitarian Transcendentalist, Samuel Longfellow’s, words “Lo, the Earth Awakes Again.” Those of us who grew up in more Christian surroundings might know the tune as “Jesus Christ is Risen today, Hallelujah”
In our hymnal Singing the Living Tradition (SLT or the grey hymnal), published in 1993, it’s found in the topic section SPRING hymn #61. Before it we find tunes with words from Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, “In Time of Silver Rain.” After it we find UU hymn writer Carl Seaburg, #62 “When the Daffodils Arrive”.
The hymnal preceding our grey hymnal was Hymns for the Celebration of Life and was published in 1964. This is where the Longfellow text was revised by the hymnal editors to fit the tune Easter Hymn. The tune itself can be traced back to John Arnold’s Compleat Psalmodist, second edition in 1749. This song has had a long history of becoming what we need it to be. In this long winter, what have you discovered, what have you needed, what have you become? What are you awakening to?