christus paradox

We concluded worship on the Feast of Christ the King this past Sunday by singing "Christus Paradox." What powerful words. We sang it to Paradox, the tune written especially for this hymn by John Van Maanen. Sylvia Dunstan, the United Church of Canada minister and prison chaplain who wrote the hymn, set it to the tune Westminster Abbey. There is a wonderful version on Youtube sung to the tune of Picardy by The Birmingham Chamber Chorus. The hymn sings the great ironies of the incarnation of God, the Word made flesh. Singing this great paradox into our hearts and souls and bodies is crucial if we are to live and tell the truth about the servant Lord of the upside-down kingdom of God. What a gift ...

You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd.
You, Lord, are both prince and slave.
You, peacemaker and sword-bringer
Of the way you took and gave.
You the everlasting instant;
You, whom we both scorn and crave.

Clothed in light upon the mountain,
Stripped of might upon the cross,
Shining in eternal glory,
Beggared by a soldier's toss,
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are both gift and cost.

You, who walk each day beside us,
Sit in power at God's side.
You, who preach a way that's narrow,
Have a love that reaches wide.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are our pilgrim guide.

Worthy is our earthly Jesus!
Worthy is our cosmic Christ!
Worthy your defeat and victory.
Worthy still your peace and strife.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are our death and life.

Sylvia Dunstan (1955-1993)

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