Thursday 20 March 2008

Maundy Thursday hymn: Jesus kneels down, Peter reels round

A hymn by Kim Fabricius (see also Kim’s sermon for Maundy Thursday)

(Tune: Infant holy)

        Jesus kneels down,
        Peter reels round
as he’s told to take a seat.
        Jesus hushes,
        Peter blushes
at the Lord who washes feet.
        Role reversal,
        a unique play,
        dress rehearsal
        for the Friday:
Praise the God of bowl and cross!
Praise the God of bowl and cross!

        Back at table,
        still unstable,
friends of Jesus reconstrue.
        now commanded,
“Do what I have done for you!”
        Love’s portrayal
        while they’re eating;
        Christ’s betrayal –
Reigns the God of bowl and cross!
Reigns the God of bowl and cross!


Anonymous said...

Dear Kim,

Once again, I feel your theology is right on target with this hymn: well done. It's obviously the sort of composition which can only be used in one particular setting, but it's none the worse for that, and we need specific hymns like it.

That being the case it seems churlish to offer a critique of the details of the words: but hymnody is a strange mixture of the big picture of theology combined with the individual brush-strokes of meter and assonance. So I hope you'll forgive me for what follows, which I offer in the spirit of suggesting alternatives which you can weigh.

The rhymes are excellent throughout. I think verse 1 gets off to a rather uneven start rhythmically as the opening line is slightly ambiguous as to where its stresses fall. Do you think maybe "Jesus kneeling, / Peter reeling / as he's told to take a seat" might flow slightly more easily? Likewise the line "a unique play" doesn't quite seem right, but I can't quite see how to fix it at the moment: perhaps something like "Role reversal / in behaviour, / dress rehearsal / for the Saviour:" or "Role reversal / as he's drying, / dress rehearsal / for his dying:", but I'm not really sure either of these are right.

In verse 2, the rhythm works better, but I'm not sure if this is at the cost of clarity of the story line. For instance, would "reconstrue" be better as "misconstrue" as the disciples fail to grasp what Jesus has done for them? And likewise, would "they're commanded" be clearer than "now commanded"? In very short lines it's always hard to be precise about the exact story of a song, but I wonder if these things would make the verse slightly clearer without detracting from its excellent rhymes?

Anyhow, hope these comments further stimulate the grey cells. Happy Good Friday! Yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

As ever, many thanks for your thoughts, shared with both expertise and grace. I have taken notes and shall keep them in mind if I revisit the hymn for future publication or posting.

You too have a good Easter weekend.

PS: I still marvel at the verse you did in response to my "10 Ps on the Trinity"!

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