Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where thy victory, O Grave?

The sun rose over the bend in the Connecticut River this morning, just as it has for some time now.

At 6:00 AM, a few dozen Middletown Christians gathered at the "chapel" at Harbor Park for a sunrise service led by Rev. Joan Cooper Burnett of the First Baptist Church. Coffee, donuts and old-timey hymns played on a portable keyboard were compensation enough for the early hour -- the service was brief, stirring and just as we closed, the sun burst over the large trailer barge jutting out onto the river, giving rise to a shout of victory from the congregation. The barge, apparently, is part of the Buckeye Pipeline effort, and thankfully will not be a permanent fixture on our riverfront.

After the service, we came home to find rabbit droppings in our garden. Happy Easter!


Anonymous said...

Are those droppings edible?

Anonymous said...

For the untutored, will you explain your choice of , "Where thy victory, O Grave?"? Is it saying that nothing dies or that everything will work out OK in heaven or what? And who expressed this idea, when and where? Thanks!

Jen Alexander said...

Anonymous @ 6:56: I'm so glad you asked!

I tried and tried to find a way to fit the answer into my post, but just gave up in favor of hitting "Publish" and then catching a few zzz's before the rest of the family woke up for real.

In the Bible, the book called Corinthians says "Oh Grave, where is thy victory?" which refers to Jesus rising from the tomb on Easter day - in other words, the grave doesn't win, it loses Jesus.

At this morning's service, we sang a hymn called "Christ the Lord is Risen Today", which converts the Corinthians quote to "Where thy victory, O Grave" which I find much more lyrical than the conventional translation. It particularly stood out for me today, hence the title. I think it was also taken up by a poet at some point, but I can't remember what that poem might be.

I actually preferred the other hymn we sung -- one that I don't remember singing before called "He Lives." Although I don't think it's a technical term, I think of songs like this as "Mountain Hymns" - they sound sort of Appalachian and would fit very nicely onto the movie soundtrack of "O Brother, Where Art Thou." If you like that sort of thing, you can find it on the internet -- the chorus is my favorite part. It put me in mind of my long-gone Baptist great-aunts from East Texas.

Anonymous said...

The generative powers of your memory are appealing, Jen. For me they are more convincing than the Bible that our lyrical lives are miraculous. Thank you for your revealing answer!