In week five we delved into the deep history of hymnody to examine the texts of Ephrem the Syrian.
Ephrem was born around the year 306 in the city of Nisibis (the modern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the border with Syria, which had come into Roman hands only in 298). Internal evidence from Ephrem’s hymnody suggests that both his parents were part of the growing Christian community in the city. He is now revered as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox church and was an incredibly prolific hymn writer (400+)
We studied the hymns of Ephrem the Syrian because he uses striking poetic language to speak with anticipation of what we hope for in the new creation.
Dr. Ruth says
“Future hope or aspiration is often an overlooked topic in recent songwriting although it is a key concern in the New Testament. Because of the nature of the topic itself, poetry seems needed to express what might be in store for us in God’s grace and good will. Greater than anything we currently know and yet of some connection to our experience, our existence in the Eschaton seems to need language that goes beyond the confines of simple prose.”
Here is a quote from Ephrem the Syrian
“Among the saints
their nakedness is clothed with glory,
None is clad with leaves
or stands ashamed,
for they have found, through our Lord,
the robe that belongs to Adam and Eve.”
This Weeks Assignment: Our goal in the writing assignment this week was to capture in verse our hopes for the future using strong sensory language – what will we see, feel, taste, smell—to hint at the quality of life that lies before us.
Let heaven descend, recreated earth
and fill up our sorrows with its rebirth
We taste of the vine, the miraculous wine
and drink deeply of heaven’s sublime
We bask in the light, His glorious face
and wander about this familiar place
We sing with the saints a thrice holy song
and feast at the table as His righteous throng
(c) Bruce Benedict 2011